Jakarta, InfoPublik – Mosquito bites on our bodies not only leave itching. The small winged creature with a pointed snout for sucking blood is a carrier of a number of diseases. The Anopheles mosquito causes malaria and elephantiasis (Filariasis/Elephantiasis) and Aedes aegypti which causes dengue fever (dengue).
Worldwide, from the records of the World Health Organization (WHO), 345,000 people died from malaria and the trend of positive cases of malaria is increasing every year. In Indonesia itself, the trend of malaria cases in all provinces fell from 465,700 positive cases in 2010 to 235,700 in 2020. However, 86 percent of the positive cases of malaria were in Papua Province, the rest were in West Papua and Maluku.
Malaria is caused by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito carrying the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite has the ability to multiply in the liver of a person who is bitten, when the immune condition is weak. Symptoms that arise as a result of this condition generally include fever, headache and nausea that appear a week after the mosquito bite. Even in certain situations, a combination of these three symptoms is often experienced by malaria sufferers.
Especially in Papua as a high endemic malaria or red category, the most cases were contributed by four districts/cities. Namely Jayapura City, Jayapura Regency, Merauke Regency, and Timika Regency. This was stated by the Director of Prevention and Control of Vector and Zoonotic Infectious Diseases of the Ministry of Health, Didik Budijanto, in a press release, on Tuesday (21/9/2021).
The four regencies/cities as mentioned by Didik are the implementing clusters for the 2020 National Sports Week in Papua which will be held from 2-15 October 2021. The Papua PON will be officially opened by President Joko Widodo at the Lukas Enembe Stadium, Kampung Harapan, Nolokla Village, Sentani District East, and Jayapura Regency.
Didik said that the PON event which was held for the 20th time would be a special concern for his side in efforts to control malaria vectors in the upstream. For this reason, it is important for PON participants and domestic tourists who are involved in these activities in order to know the characteristics of the various mosquitoes that carry a number of diseases in Papua to be anticipated.
Moreover, among the people still think that malaria is a common disease, so there is less attention. “This gives us information to the public that although malaria can be prevented and treated, it can also cause death. Therefore, the concept of how to prevent this disease from happening in the community is a challenge,” he said.
Fogging Every Week
Therefore, the Ministry of Health sent a number of vector control personnel to carry out fumigation (fogging) at least once a week in all lodging facilities, especially on the walls and locations adjacent to mosquito habitats. Then in every arena that holds matches from morning to evening, smoking is at least once a week.
“For night matches, there are efforts that we mutually agree on that every arena as well as hotel, guesthouse, athlete and coach accommodation must be free of vectors. So every day two to three hours before the match starts we fogging first,” he said.
In addition, efforts screening against immigrants in PON Papua is also carried out at the time of return. Because someone who has been bitten by Anopheles can carry parasites that are lodged in the body to the area of origin. “After returning home, our athletes will monitor them not to bring the vector to malaria-free areas,” he said.
This is the result of the Didik’s analysis of the behavior of Anopheles which is different from Aedes aegypti. Although at first glance it looks the same, Anopheles has more specific characteristics such as a flat body and a slightly elongated abdomen from Aedes Aegypti. Anopheles preferred to wander at night, from 18.00 until the early morning.
Another Aedes Aegypti mosquito, because it prefers to bite humans during office hours or when people start routine activities, starting at 08.00 to 11.00 and continuing at 14.00 to 17.00 WIB.
Another characteristic of Anopheles is his habit of perching on walls. In principle, said Didik, these mosquitoes prefer to be in humid places, such as walls or close to soil and dirty waterways. In contrast, dengue fever mosquitoes prefer to breed in clear water reservoirs.
Efforts to prevent malaria also need to be carried out through public self-awareness by maintaining a healthy lifestyle so that the body’s immunity is maintained optimally. Intake of preventive drugs is also recommended by doctors. One of them is the antibiotic doxycycline which is used to treat various diseases caused by bacterial infections, especially malaria.
According to Didik, the drug is not doping so it will not interfere with the athlete’s appearance. “The government does require the administration of doxycycline when someone wants to go to Papua. A week before, he took the drug to prevent infection from being bitten by the Anopheles mosquito,” he said.
According to Didik, the government has removed the program for a long time. Therefore, malaria management prioritizes prevention. However, along with the implementation of PON Papua, the Ministry of Health again recommends giving the drug to PON participants. Doxycycline is recommended to be taken as one tablet of 100 milligrams per day.
Consumed starting from two days before going to malaria endemic areas until four weeks after returning to the place of origin. The drug is taken at the same time every day. According to doctor Maria Ulfa as quoted from Between, the drug should be taken after dinner or two hours before bedtime. Patients with gastric ulcers or acute ulcers are advised to combine the intake of ulcer drugs with doxycycline.
The doxycycline drug is relatively safe for users as long as it is consumed as recommended. However, for certain comorbidities, a doctor can be consulted. Papuan PON participants are also advised to wear closed clothing on the arms and legs for extra protection from mosquito bites.
Even when sleeping, if needed, you can use insecticide-treated mosquito nets that have been prepared by the government at the inn location. “We also recommend using a repellent or insecticide that can prevent mosquito bites. It can be applied to parts of the body that are prone to bites,” he said.
Maintaining physical fitness before traveling to the location of the PON in Papua, it is important to keep an eye on it. Because in a healthy body, there is a strong soul. Don’t forget to maintain the health protocol of wearing a mask, washing hands with running water and soap and keeping a distance.
Author: Anton Setiawan
Editor: Ratna Nuraini/Elvira Inda Sari