Malaria kills Burundi’s six-year-old YouTube comic

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Burundi's YouTube Darcy Irakoze alias Kacaman

By BBC

A six-year-old Burundian boy, known for his comic stand-up routines on YouTube and in local theatres, has died of malaria.

His manager told the BBC that Darcy Irakoze, better known by his stage name “Kacaman”, tested positive for malaria on Wednesday at a clinic near his home in central Gitega province.

“He was given malaria medication and returned home, only to go back to the clinic yesterday critically ill,” the manager said.

Kacaman’s last performance was with Kigingi, a comedy icon in Burundi, in Gitega last Friday.

Kigingi told the BBC that the young comedian’s death was a great loss personally and for Burundi’s entertainment industry.

The death of the young star has also focused attention on the high number of malaria cases in the country this year.

The WHO says it has reached epidemic proportions, with more than five million cases and more than 1,800 deaths in the first six months of the year.

But the government says the UN is being alarmist, quotes slightly lower figures and says they compare favourably to previous years.

Malaria is spread when female mosquitoes bite humans, with symptoms including cycles of feeling cold and shivering followed by a high temperature with severe sweating.

Without treatment, the parasite can lead to breathing problems and organ failure.

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