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Nouhou being treated for malaria

Sounders left back is apparently “on the mend” but might miss more time.

MLS: Seattle Sounders FC at FC Cincinnati Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports

SEATTLE — The “unspecified” ailment that has kept Nouhou out of the Seattle Sounders’ lineup since April 22 was revealed to be malaria. Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer made the announcement on Sunday following the 2-1 loss to Sporting KC.

“He’s been treated and he’s fine, the medicine works fairly quickly,” Schmetzer said. “We expect him to make a full recovery.”

Schmetzer later added: “He’s on the mend.”

Still, Schmetzer was reluctant to give an exact timeline for Nouhou’s return. Reading between the lines a bit, the indication is that Nouhou will be out for at least a bit longer as there’s apparently some danger of an enlarged spleen which would make rigorous exercise and contact dangerous until it subsides.

“We are monitoring that closely and as soon as that issue is resolved he’ll return to full participation,” Schmetzer said.

Schmetzer also declined to say when Nouhou contracted the disease, but it’s at least possible that it happened while he was on international duty and played matches in Cameroon and South Africa. It is unlikely that anyone else on the team has contracted the disease and any further details on the timing and treatment of Nouhou’s illness are a matter between him and his doctor.

Malaria is a tropical and sub-tropical parasite usually transmitted through mosquito bites and is most commonly found in Sub-Saharan Africa, according to the CDC. It can take several weeks after infection for symptoms to show. While there is a malaria vaccine for children as well as drugs that can treat it and prevent spread, it remains one of the world’s deadliest diseases. There were an estimated 241 million cases in 2020 that included 627,000 deaths, mostly African children.

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