Health Chief declares Samoa "malaria free"

Samoa is malaria free.

That's the declaration from the Ministry of Health (M.O.H.), after a Pacific Games official tested positive to the mosquito-borne disease, triggered fears within the public that it could spread.

M.O.H. Director General, Leausa Dr. Take Naseri, told the Samoa Observer that the coach from the Solomon Islands was quarantined last week after he tested positive.

But he was treated with antibiotics and given the all clear to leave the hospital after he recovered.

“He was released from the hospital after several days being quarantined," Leausa said. "We have nothing to worry about. The Solomons coach was treated with antibiotics and he’s all clear. And it’s clear that this is an imported case, he came to Samoa with his malaria."

Last week, the Director General said physicians who are on site at the Pacific Games venues, acted immediately when the coach's condition was brought to their attention. 

“He was brought into the hospital over the weekend and we immediately acted, treated and quarantined him and at the same time sprayed the Games Village,” he said.

Leausa said there is nothing to worry about as there are no cases of malaria in Samoa. 

“We don’t have the mosquito that can carry the malaria parasite, so there is nothing to worry about." 

Leausa said for athletes travelling to Samoa, they are encouraged to provide health clearance to the local authorities to ensure these matters are addressed. 

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), malaria is transmitted to people through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. 

In the Pacific Islands, a person can be infected with malaria in Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu and presents no risks to local populations in Fiji, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and islands in Micronesia. 

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