Malaria, which is transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes, is both preventable and treatable — yet an estimated 435,000 people die of it each year. CNN reported (7/23/2019) it is spreading across southeast Asia at alarming rates and is resistant to the drug DHA-PPQ.
The drug, dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PPQ), has now reached a 62% failure rate in western Cambodia, 27% in northeastern Cambodia, 53% in southwestern Vietnam, and 87% in northeastern Thailand, researchers said in a statement.
The World Health Organization’s (WHO) recent data suggests that malaria is making a comeback: a 2018 report found malaria cases had risen significantly in 13 countries, and an increase of 2 million cases globally between 2016 and 2017. Resistance to antimalarial medicines is a threat to global efforts to control and eliminate malaria. Improved access to effective malaria treatments has been a key contributing factor to the significant reduction in the malaria burden in recent years. Protecting the efficacy of the recommended malaria treatments is a top priority for malaria-endemic countries and the global malaria community.
“This highly successful resistant parasite strain is capable of invading new territories and acquiring new genetic properties, raising the terrifying prospect that it could spread to Africa where most malaria cases occur, as resistance to chloroquine did in the 1980s, contributing to millions of deaths,” said Olivo Miotto, a researcher from the University of Oxford and the Wellcome Sanger Institute, in a statement. Countries need to adopt alternative treatments and speed up the elimination of the resistant strains before they spread globally, his team warned.
“It’s a difficult disease to deal with. The tools we have are modestly effective, but drugs and insecticides wear out; after 10, 20 years, mosquitoes become resistant,” Adrian Hill, director of the Jenner Institute at the University of Oxford, told CNN earlier this year. “There’s a real concern that in 2020s, (cases) are going to jump back up again,” he added.
Symptoms of Malaria
- Impaired consciousness
- Deep breathing and respiratory distress
- Clinical jaundice and evidence of vital organ dysfunction
- Shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
- High fever
- Profuse sweating
- Abdominal pain
- Muscle pain
- Bloody stools
- Rarely the parasite can be transmitted by:
- Organ transplant
- Blood transfusion
Anyone traveling to a region with malaria should consider antimalarial medication. Even if you were born in a country with malaria and since moved to the United States, consult with a travel health specialist on need.
But, not every antimalarial is suited to everyone. A specialist can help you determine which malaria medication is right for you and your trip.
Ref. MSN/lifestyle, CNN, cnnnews.com,
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