- Associated Press - Tuesday, April 5, 2011

SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC (AP) - Dominican health authorities launched an education campaign Tuesday to fight an increase in malaria deaths.

At least six people have died so far this year and an additional 500 cases have been reported, the majority of them in the Caribbean country’s southern region, Health Minister Bautista Rojas said. A total of four malaria deaths were recorded in all of 2010.

Malaria is spread by infected mosquitoes, which breed in stagnant water, and causes flu-like symptoms that can lead to death.

Some 100,000 health workers and volunteers are visiting impoverished communities around the capital of Santo Domingo this week to distribute pamphlets on how to prevent malaria and other diseases that are more common during the rainy season.

The country also is dealing with an outbreak of cholera, which has infected nearly 700 people and caused seven deaths. A cholera epidemic in neighboring Haiti has killed more than 4,000 people since October.

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