In recent months the media has focused on the outbreak of Zika, which is threatening countries in the Americas, including the USA. Though no local mosquito-borne Zika virus disease cases have been reported in the States, lab tests have confirmed the virus in travellers returning to the United States.
With both the peak summer travel period and the forthcoming Olympic Games approaching it is important that all travellers as well as visitors to Rio gain knowledge of the Zika virus. This can be obtained from the World Health Organisation or the Centre of Disease Control websites, not only to protect your own health, but to avoid the spread of the virus to other parts of the world. With high poverty levels in African countries such as Zambia it would be catastrophic if there was a new outbreak of the Zika virus.
Whether it is Zika, Dengue Fever or Malaria, prevention methods are crucial. The Butterfly Tree has been supporting malaria prevention in Zambia since 2008. Malaria is the biggest killer of man. This year Zambia had an emergency in many areas, districts with the highest prevalence were Ndola, Kabwe and Kazungula, where most of our work is carried out.
Two years ago The Butterfly Tree introduced a safe and effective method of malaria prevention, which is proving to be highly successful according to reports from the Zambian Ministry of Health and the National Malaria Control Centre. In areas where we applied the new products in November 2015, zero or very few cases have since been reported.
This new initiative is attracting a great deal of interest from the Zambian government and private sector. In the UK Saga Charitable Trust, Medisave, Inner Wheel and Rotary Clubs have given donations to buy both these products and mosquito nets. Over the next few months we aim to paint the inside of many more dwellings with the safe insecticidal coating and distribute nets. In addition granules will be placed in ponds and stagnant water to prevent the larva from developing into mosquito.
For people visiting Zambia and countries where malaria and other infectious diseases are found, gain as much knowledge as possible about the symptoms and prevention.