Manafwa district deaths: Health Ministry confirms mysterious malaria, victims pass urine laced with blood

Manafwa district deaths: Health Ministry confirms mysterious malaria, victims pass urine laced with blood
Eazzy Banking

The Ministry of Health has identified the disease that has killed several people in Manafwa district as Blackwater Fever.

Blackwater fever is a severe complication of malaria in which red blood cells burst in the bloodstream, releasing haemoglobin directly into the blood vessels and into the urine, leading to kidney failure.

In May, 14 people died under unclear circumstances in Manafwa district. The victims were passing urine laced with blood.

Last month, Parliament directed the health ministry to investigate the cause of the deaths.

Dr Charles Olar, Director Clinical Services says investigations revealed that the disease is not new in the country’s health care system.

The undiagnosed illness was first reported on May 23, when 14 children were initially thought to have contracted the disease.

The majority of the patients started becoming ill with the disease at just one to two years, with one patient contracting it at just five months of age. Most of those affected – 14 children – were boys.

The WHO says that while malaria is endemic in the area health workers should be “open minded” and not assume that this undiagnosed disease is black water fever.

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