26 September 2007

Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Jamaica – update

The outbreak of Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Jamaica that was first reported in December 2006 [1] appears to have subsided. There have been no new cases reported since 10 June 2007 [2]. The outbreak began in October 2006 [3] and a total of 370 cases were reported. The majority of cases occurred in Kingston, although smaller numbers were also reported in St. Catherine and other neighbouring parishes. The Ministry of Health in Jamaica is continuing surveillance and control measures in the area.

During the outbreak, the malaria prevention measures that the United Kingdom recommended were awareness of the low risk of malaria plus mosquito bite avoidance. No malaria cases occurred in UK travellers. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have now removed their recommendation that travellers to Jamaica take malaria prevention tablets.                                                                                                                               

Advice for travellers

It is still recommended that travellers to Jamaica use insect bite avoidance measures, as other insect transmitted diseases, including dengue fever, are endemic to the Caribbean islands.


1. Public Health Agency of Canada. Malaria in Kingston, Jamaica. Travel Health Notices and International Reports. 4 December 2006. [Accessed 26 September 2007] Available at:


2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Malaria in Kingston Jamaica: Recommendations removed. 14 September 2007. [Accessed 26 September 2007] Available at:

3. Health Protection Agency. Plasmodium falciparum malaria in Jamaica. Commun Dis Rep CDR Wkly [serial online] 2006; 16: (49). [Accessed 26 September 2007] Available at:


Health Protection Agency malaria website

NaTHNaC. Health Information Sheet. Malaria

NaTHNaC. Health Information Sheet. Insect bite avoidance.