Malaria has claimed at least 548 lives in Zimbabwe this year, with 334,000 cases reported countrywide, according to the Herald on Friday.
Deputy Director for Disease Prevention and Control in the Ministry of Health and Child Welfare Stanley Midzi was quoted as saying that the increase in malaria deaths was attributable to the extended wet season.
"About 50 malaria deaths were being recorded weekly up to the week ending May 9. This is because of the increase in rains as compared to last year," said Midzi.
On April 23, 225,340 malaria cases were recorded countrywide and between that day and May 9, 108,660 new cases were reported.
"Another factor resulting in the increase in malaria deaths and people suffering from the illness is the late presentation of malaria symptoms at health centers," said Midzi.
Malaria symptoms include headaches, fever, vomiting and general body aches.
Midzi said this year's prolonged rain season result in the extension of the malaria season, which normally ends early this month.
"We foresee the malaria season, which in a normal year starts in November and ends in early May, to end either around late May or early next month this time around," said Midzi.
(Xinhua News Agency May 14, 2004)