No malaria risk in Joburg water - NICD

Pretoria - The National Institute for Communicable Diseases (NICD) has assured residents of Johannesburg that tap water in the city is safe and carries no risk of malaria.

This follows a rumour about an outbreak of malaria in Lenasia, Eldorado Park and Ennerdale.

"There is currently no outbreak of malaria in Lenasia, Eldorado Park and Ennerdale, as has been rumoured. There is also no scientific basis that drinking water is a source of malaria in the area," said NICD spokesperson, Nombuso Shabalala.

Shabalala said malaria cannot be transmitted through drinking water or contact with water.

"Malaria is not spread from person-to-person. Tap water in Johannesburg is safe and carries no risk."

She confirmed that malaria was confirmed two weeks ago in two patients, one resident in Eldorado Park and the other in Lenasia, but neither of the patients had a history of travel to a known malaria area.

Shabalala explained that the infections were likely acquired through the bite of an infected imported mosquito, which likely travelled in a suitcase or vehicle to the area from a usual malaria transmission area.

"These are rare events incidents as mosquitoes are unlikely to survive such journeys. Both patients have responded well to treatment. Extensive investigations have been conducted in the area and no malaria mosquitoes have been found," she said.

Malaria risk areas include Limpopo (Vhembe district), northern KwaZulu-Natal and the low veld areas in Mpumalanga, bordering on and including the Kruger National Park. The majority of South African travellers, who contract malaria have acquired their infections in Mozambique.

Malaria is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito and this happens in areas where malaria is typically reported.