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The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICS) has warned that the country is currently in its peak malaria season but that cases are being misdiagnosed as Covid-19.

According to the NICD, malaria and Covid-19 have similar non-specific early symptoms including fever, chills, headaches, fatigue and muscle pain.

The organisation said that any individual presenting with fever or flu-like illness – if they reside in a malaria-risk area in Limpopo, KwaZulu-Natal or Mpumalanga – or have travelled to a malaria-risk area, especially Mozambique, in the past six weeks, must be tested for malaria, reports Times Live.

The NICD urged people to inform their healthcare providers that they travelled to neighbouring countries or malaria-risk areas within South Africa so that they can be tested for malaria. The idea is to rule out the possibility of malaria before any other diseases are considered.

If not treated correctly or early enough, malaria can be fatal. That’s why those who test positive for malaria have to start treatment immediately.

Even if someone hasn’t travelled to malaria-risk areas and they show symptoms, they could test positive for malaria due to malaria mosquitos ‘hitchhiking’ among the luggage.

Image credit: Daily Maverick

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