Dengue cases on rise, tally reaches 55 in Delhi, NCR

The number of dengue cases in the national capital and its adjoining areas has climbed to 55, civic officials said on Thursday.

Dengue cases on rise, tally reaches 55 in Delhi, NCR

According to figures from the municipal corporations, 48 cases of dengue have been reported from the capital. The remaining seven cases are from the adjoining areas in Uttar Pradesh and Haryana as of  13 Sep tember. Similarly, 41 cases of malaria have been recorded in the national capital
this year.

The civic bodies have taken various measures to control dengue in the city. ‘People are being challaned for mosquito breeding. They are penalised by charging a maximum fine of Rs. 500’, said a civic officer.

Source: millenum post

New way to diagnose malaria by detecting parasite’s waste in infected blood cells

Over the past several decades, malaria diagnosis has changed very little. After taking a blood sample from a patient, a technician smears the blood across a glass slide, stains it with a special dye, and looks under a microscope for the Plasmodium parasite, which causes the disease. This approach gives an accurate count of how many parasites are in the blood — an important measure of disease severity — but is not ideal because there is potential for human error.

New way to diagnose malaria by detecting parasite's waste in infected blood cells

A research team from the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) has now come up with a possible alternative. The researchers have devised a way to use magnetic resonance relaxometry (MRR), a close cousin of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), to detect a parasitic waste product in the blood of infected patients. This technique could offer a more reliable way to detect malaria, says Jongyoon Han, a professor of electrical engineering and biological engineering at MIT.

“There is real potential to make this into a field-deployable system, especially since you don’t need any kind of labels or dye. It’s based on a naturally occurring biomarker that does not require any biochemical processing of samples” says Han, one of the senior authors of a paper describing the technique in the Aug. 31 issue of Nature Medicine.
Peter Rainer Preiser of SMART and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore is also a senior author. The paper’s lead author is Weng Kung Peng, a research scientist at SMART.

Hunting malaria with magnets
With the traditional blood-smear technique, a technician stains the blood with a reagent that dyes cell nuclei. Red blood cells don’t have nuclei, so any that show up are presumed to belong to parasite cells. However, the technology and expertise needed to identify the parasite are not always available in some of the regions most affected by malaria, and technicians don’t always agree in their interpretations of the smears, Han says.

“There’s a lot of human-to-human variation regarding what counts as infected red blood cells versus some dust particles stuck on the plate. It really takes a lot of practice,” he says.

The new SMART system detects a parasitic waste product called hemozoin. When the parasites infect red blood cells, they feed on the nutrient-rich hemoglobin carried by the cells. As hemoglobin breaks down, it releases iron, which can be toxic, so the parasite converts the iron into hemozoin — a weakly paramagnetic crystallite.

Those crystals interfere with the normal magnetic spins of hydrogen atoms. When exposed to a powerful magnetic field, hydrogen atoms align their spins in the same direction. When a second, smaller field perturbs the atoms, they should all change their spins in synchrony — but if another magnetic particle, such as hemozoin, is present, this synchrony is disrupted through a process called relaxation. The more magnetic particles are present, the more quickly the synchrony is disrupted.

“What we are trying to really measure is how the hydrogen’s nuclear magnetic resonance is affected by the proximity of other magnetic particles,” Han says. For this study, the researchers used a 0.5-tesla magnet, much less expensive and powerful than the 2- or 3-tesla magnets typically required for MRI diagnostic imaging, which can cost up to $2 million. The current device prototype is small enough to sit on a table or lab bench, but the team is also working on a portable version that is about the size of a small electronic tablet.

After taking a blood sample and spinning it down to concentrate the red blood cells, the sample analysis takes less than a minute. Only about 10 microliters of blood is required, which can be obtained with a finger prick, making the procedure minimally invasive and much easier for health care workers than drawing blood intravenously.

“This system can be built at a very low cost, relative to the million-dollar MRI machines used in a hospital,” Peng says. “Furthermore, since this technique does not rely on expensive labeling with chemical reagents, we are able to get each diagnostic test done at a cost of less than 10 cents.”

Tracking infection
Hemozoin crystals are produced in all four stages of malaria infection, including the earliest stages, and are generated by all known species of the Plasmodium parasite. Also, the amount of hemozoin can reveal how severe the infection is, or whether it is responding to treatment. “There are a lot of scenarios where you want to see the number, rather than a yes or no answer,” Han says.

In this paper, the researchers showed that they could detect Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous form of the parasite, in blood cells grown in the lab. They also detected the parasite in red blood cells from mice infected with Plasmodium berghei.

The researchers are launching a company to make this technology available at an affordable price. The team is also running field tests in Southeast Asia and is exploring powering the device on solar energy, an important consideration for poor rural areas.

Source: science daily

Could Climate Change Cause Deadly Epidemics?

If people aren’t as concerned about climate change as they should be, one reason may be that the gradual rise of temperatures and ocean waters seems to give us plenty of time to take mitigating measures, such as seawalls to protect coastal cities and genetically-engineered crops that would be able to flourish in the altered environment. It’s harder to understand that climate change may endanger us in other ways that will be more difficult to combat. For example, it may cause a slew of deadly diseases, which are now seen mostly in poorer regions in the tropics, to spread to developed nations in temperate zones.

Could Climate Change Cause Deadly Epidemics

The latest concern: A newly-published study in BMC Public Health looked at dengue fever, a virus spread by mosquitoes that sickens 50 million people and kills about 12,000 people worldwide each year, mostly in tropical areas.

The researchers found that dengue eventually could become a significant health problem in parts of Europe, including Mediterranean and Adriatic coastal areas that are popular with tourists. Europe is becoming hotter and more humid, conditions that foster the growth of the mosquitoes.

The researchers studied data from Mexico about the occurrence of dengue fever and the effect of climate variables such as temperature, humidity and rainfall, as well as socioeconomic factors, such as population density and income, on the spread of the disease. They then used that data to model the infection rate in various regions of Europe over the next century. In some places, they predicted that rate of dengue fever cases will quintuple, to up to 10 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.

Almost all of the excess risk will fall on the coastal areas of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas and the northeastern part of Italy, particularly the Po Valley, University of East Anglia medical school professor Paul Hunter said in a press release.

That comes after a 2013 study warned that people in the United States are also at risk from dengue due to climate change. Traditionally, America has only had a few hundred reported cases of dengue each year, usually involving international travelers. But the Natural Resources Defense Council says that the mosquito that transmits dengue now is found in 28 states.

Another 2014 study found that climate change may be increasing the spread of Lyme disease.

Source: discovery news

8 Best Natural Remedies to Treat Malaria

malaria Prevention

Malaria is extremely common and a serious disease that causes chills, shivering and high fever. You can get infected from a bite by a malaria parasite carrying mosquito. Malaria is most commonly found in Africa, Southern Asia, South America and Central America. The elderly, children and people with lower levels of immunity are a greater risk. Early diagnosis and anti-malarial medication will help in effective treatment of malaria. Usually the malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites.

The Most Common Symptoms are:

  • Anemia, caused by destruction of red blood cells
  • Merozoites being released into the bloodstreamThe Most Common Symptoms
  • Chills in the body
  • High fever and headache
  • Blood in stools
  • Excessive sweating
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling of Nausea
  • Coma
  • Jaundice
  • Convulsion

The parasite for malaria seems to disappear over the winter. More than one million people die of malaria every year. It is a major hazard for travelers to warm climate. In some parts of the world the mosquitoes carrying malaria have become resistant to insecticides and the parasites have developed resistance to antibiotics. This has made it much more difficult to control the spread of diseases and rate of infection.

Possible Complications:

The parasites in the body can create different types of complications.

  • Cerebritis – brain infection
  • Hemolytic anemia – destruction of blood cells
  • Kidney failure
  • Meningitis
  • Liver failure
  • Pulmonary Edema – Fluid in lungs causes respiratory failure
  • Hemorrhage – Spleen rupture leading to heavy internal bleeding


People living in areas where malaria is common found usually develop immunity to the disease. However, visitors will not have this immunity and need to take preventive medications.

Before traveling overseas or other areas of your country, you need to see your health care provider. The treatment may begin 2 weeks before your trip for the prevention of malaria. It may also continue for a month after you leave the area.

There are different types of anti-malarial medications prescribed for a different area of visit. Anti-malarial medications will not completely protect you from becoming infected. You need to avoid mosquito bites by using mosquito repellents, creams, wearing protective clothing that will cover your arms and legs and using screens on windows. Maintain clean surroundings by avoiding swamps and drainage flow beside your residence.

Treatment for Malaria

Medicines are the first option treat the illness. However, some malaria parasites can survive as they are in your liver or they are resistant to medicines. Inform your doctor in case you notice the symptoms of malaria.

The three main types of malaria, tertian fever, malignant tertian malaria and quartan fever, are caused depending upon the parasites which cause it. The most common symptom of all these types of malaria is high fever. The fever is accompanied by shivering, chills, headache and pain in the limbs. The temperature comes down after some time with excessive sweating. Avoiding stress is also essential to protect your body.

According to Naturopathy wrong feeding habits and unhealthy lifestyles are the real causes for accelerating malaria. The consumption of tinned, flesh foods, alcoholic beverages and de-natured foods causes the development of malaria.

Natural Remedies to treat Malaria


Fruits and vegetables are always great when it comes to treating the body. One of the most effective home remedies for malaria is Grape fruit. It should be consumed daily. The natural quinine-like substance can be extracted from the Grape fruit by boiling a quarter of it and straining its pulp.


Fever Nut

Another effective natural remedy for malaria is using fever nut seeds. These seeds can be obtained from any herbal store and preserved for use as and when required. Two hours before the assumed time of attack take six grams of these seeds with a cup of water, and the same dosage should be taken one hour after the attack. Whether the attack takes place or not the same procedure should be resorted.


Artemisia Annua

Artemisia annua, also known as sweet wormwood is yet another effective natural agent that helps in fighting malaria. The herb has to be steeped in cold water and the water should be consumed directly in order to get optimum results.



Cinnamon is a valuable remedy for treating malaria. One teaspoon of powdered cinnamon should be boiled in a glass of water with a pinch of pepper powder and a tea spoon of honey. This needs to be taken every day which is a beneficial medicine for malaria.



Chirayata is a herb which is botanically known as Swertia andrographis paniculata. It is beneficial for treating intermittent malarial fevers. It helps to lower the temperature. Take 250 ml of water, add 15 gm of chirayata, 2 cloves and a stick of cinnamon and boil them together. One to two tea spoons of this can be consumed twice a day.


Lime and Lemon

Lime and lemon play a vital role to reduce the quartan type of malarial fever. Take 4 to 5 drops of lime, add the juice of one lemon and dissolve it in one glass of water. This mixture needs to be consumed before the onset of fever.



Alum needs to be dry roasted and powdered. A teaspoon of this powder needs to be consumed four hours before the expected fever attack and half a teaspoon after two hours of the attack. It will give great relief from malaria.


Holy Basil

Holy basil leaves are a beneficial remedy in prevention of malaria. Make a paste using eleven grams of holy basil leaves with three grams of black pepper powder. This mixture can be consumed daily in the cold stages of malarial fever. This will check the severity of the disease.


Best Diet for Patients with Malaria

One can fast on orange juice and water for a few days. Depending on the severity of the fever, one must fast on orange juice. One can munch on fresh fruits for the first few days to repair the infected cells. Milk can also be added after a few days to the diet. Fresh fruits and raw vegetables can be consumed for better results. Prevent yourself from malaria by using the above home remedies. Keep yourself healthy by eating the right kind of food and by keeping away from mosquitoes.

Source: the fit indian

Cameroon Steps Up War On Malaria Amid Worsening Floods


Cameroon is seeking ways to mobilise its citizens to support a government-led campaign against soaring malaria deaths, as worsening floods aggravate health risks.

Government officials in the central-west African country say regular flooding due to erratic rains is partly responsible for the recent spike in deaths from vector-borne diseases, because standing water encourages malaria-carrying mosquitoes to breed.

“The increase in the death rate from malaria in Cameroon is disturbing indeed, especially at a time when efforts to combat the disease in African were yielding positive results. The Cameroon government, however, is sparing no efforts to reverse the trend,” Alim Hayatou, secretary of state in charge of epidemics and pandemics, told the launch of a nationwide campaign against vector-borne diseases in March.

Hayatou said the 2014 campaign aims to step up official efforts to reduce the death rate from malaria by at least 75 percent before 2018, and to alleviate its heavy social and economic burden on the population.

The annual death toll from malaria in Cameroon jumped from less than 2,000 in 2011 and 2012 to over 3,200 in 2013, according to statistics from Malaria No More, an international NGO fighting the disease in Africa.

Government officials, health experts and environmentalists are unanimous on the need for a joint push to keep malaria at bay.

Against this backdrop, the government – alongside partners including UNICEF, Plan Cameroon and Malaria No More – announced a boost to the anti-malaria campaign K.O. PALU (Kick Out Malaria) with a door-to-door distribution of treated mosquito nets to families, especially with pregnant women and children, accompanied by environmental education.


According to Cameroon’s minister of public health, André Mama Fouda, Cameroon saw the distribution of free treated mosquito nets rise from 33 percent of the population in 2011 to 66 percent in 2013. But the death rate has paradoxically increased, indicating the need to accompany net handouts with messages about the environment and good hygiene practices.

“Exerting unprecedented control over the unfriendly behaviour of people towards the environment is key to succeeding in the fight against malaria and other vector-borne diseases,” the minister said.

In 2013, the government banned the production, sale and use of non-biodegradable plastic bags – which health and environment experts say have clogged up drains and gutters, contributing to floods.

“The reckless littering of…plastics on streets and waterways are some of the barriers to efforts to fight floods, because they block drainage facilities,” Tansi Laban of the ministry of environment and nature protection told Thomson Reuters Foundation in Yaounde.

“Worse still, many households and companies dispose of plastic bags by burning them, which emits toxic gases that harm the atmosphere and increase the level of dioxins and carbon dioxide in the air, resulting in ozone layer depletion. This leads to global warming and climate change,” the official added.

The government delegate to Douala City Council, Fritz Ntone Ntone, said at the malaria campaign launch that the council had completed a drainage project to channel run-off water during heavy rains into the River Wouri, in response to persistent flooding and pollution of some areas. The project, which began in January 2013 and ended this March, cost the council some 785 million FCFA ($1.57 million).

The cities of Douala in the Littoral Region and Mokolo in the Far North Region, which suffered heavy floods in 2012 and 2013, accounted for over 40 percent of malaria deaths last year, pointing to the negative effects of weather extremes for public health, experts say.

The problems of regular flooding and poor drainage need to be addressed to prevent mosquitoes breeding, said Olivia Ngou, Cameroon country director of Malaria No More.

Environmentalists have blamed Douala’s tendency to flooding on the exploitation of mangrove forests near the coast by fishermen who cut down trees to smoke fish, leaving the shore bare of vegetation and removing protection against storm surges and sea-level rise.


Statistics from the public health ministry show that children younger than five and pregnant women are the groups most vulnerable to malaria, registering over 40 percent of deaths in 2013. More than 1.6 million Cameroonians are affected by the disease each year.

The government is concerned that the population is not collaborating sufficiently with the anti-malaria drive. Last June, on World Environment Day, environment minister Pierre Hélé expressed regret that climate change was playing out in people’s lives,  yet few paid attention to ways of averting the potential risks.

Some climate change projects have either failed to take off, or have been poorly or partially implemented due to corruption and administrative bottlenecks, he said. The minister cited the planned construction of a canal to stop flooding in Douala, which was announced by the government in 2012 but has yet to begin amid allegations over mismanagement of funds.

Health workers say many people have malaria nets but do not use them because of excessive heat in the city due to overcrowding and rising temperatures linked to greenhouse gas emissions from local industry in
the country’s commercial capital.

Isaac Ebong, a doctor at Laquantini hospital in Douala, told Thomson Reuters Foundation that patients complain the nets are too warm to sleep under.


The World Health Organization (WHO) country representative in Cameroon, Charlotte Faty Ndiaye, said at the anti-malaria campaign launch her agency stood poised to help the government, as in previous years.

“WHO is always ready to work with government and civil society organisations to improve the health of the population. Thanks to efforts by WHO, some 337 million cases of malaria were prevented between 2001 and 2012,” she said.

Malaria is an entirely preventable and treatable mosquito-borne illness, according to the WHO.An estimated 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria worldwide, according to a 2013 WHO report. Of these, 1.2 billion are at high risk, in areas where more than 1 malaria case occurs per 1,000 people.

Globally, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012,  and an estimated 627,000 deaths. The report said 90 percent of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa

Source: Thomson reuters foundation

Zimbabwe: Malaria Still a Burden in Border Areas


Malaria burden remains high in border towns in Zimbabwe, especially in areas close to Mozambique, health experts have said. While the overall national statistics indicate a major decline from 5 000 deaths to 300 per year, border districts like Mudzi are still recording high cases.

Speaking during the launch of the Zimbabwean leg of the race against malaria (RAM) 2 campaign at Nyamapanda clinic last week, deputy minister of Health and Child Care, Paul Chimedza said the initiative was paying special attention to the worst affected areas.

“The communities that live in these areas are closely interlinked,” he said. Chimedza said the disease burden was weighing heavily on the battered health delivery service. He said there was need for more funding from partners.

Currently the Global Fund and a few other partners are contributing to malaria control programmes. The provincial medical director for Mashonaland East, Simukai Zizhou said 28 000 cases of malaria had been recorded in 2013 in Mudzi, accounting for over 20% of the population.

“At the moment areas like Uzumba Maramba Pfungwe, Mutoko and Mudzi top the list,” he said. Cross border movement was posing a challenge to programme interventions and RAM was initiated in Sadc to maximise efforts to control malaria.

Initiated in 2003, RAM includes countries like Angola, Zambia, Mozambique, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe. RAM is a Sadc initiative to create awareness and mobilise resources for action against malaria and to strengthen malaria control infrastructure within the region.

The first RAM campaign was held in November 2003.Convoys of country malaria teams drove from Angola to Dar-es-Salaam (Tanzania) through Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Mozambique and Malawi.

During the campaign, regional and local partners including the corporate world were instrumental in mobilising malaria commodities which were distributed to support activities for malaria prevention and control in the region.

RAM 2 campaign, which is a reverse of RAM 1, started from Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania on April 13 2014 and will end on April 25 2014 in Angola. Countries taking part in RAM 2 include Zambia, Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, South Africa, Swaziland, Namibia, Tanzania and Angola.

The participants of RAM 2 include individuals, institutions or organisations that share the need for a malaria-free Africa and seek to achieve parasite-free communities. These include Government departments, UN agencies, non-governmental organisations, the Corporate world, private sector, health professionals, and uniformed forces.

Source: All Africa

World Malaria Day 2014: Avoid Mosquito Bites & Prevent Malaria


Although, malaria mortality rates have fallen by 42% globally and 49% in Africa, this life-threatening disease needs to be watched and treated in time.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) latest estimates, released in December 2013,

there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627000 deaths, mainly children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa.

Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed on April 25 every year to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.

Malaria is a curable and preventable, but can be deadly if left untreated.

Preventive measures include:

Avoid mosquitoes bites: This is the first and foremost line of defence for malaria prevention. You can avoid mosquito bites by following these guidelines such as by – using a mosquito net while sleeping, wearing protective clothing (long sleeved-shirts and long pants), spraying your home with insecticide, staying inside between dusk and dawn if possible. Also insect repellent with DEET can be used on skin.

Medicines: If you’re travelling to a region where malaria is common, you should take precautions so that you do not contract it. Tell your doctor which location you will be travelling so that he can prescribe you the right medicine depending on the type of malaria parasite most commonly found in that region. Take the medication as prescribed by your doctor – before, during and after your trip to avoid getting malaria.

Vaccines: As of now, there are no licensed vaccines against malaria or any other human parasite even as scientists are working on developing effective vaccines against the disease.

Source: Zee news


Today Is World Health Day – Prevent Vector Borne Diseases


Over 1 million people all around the world die due to vector borne diseases. Focusing mainly on the increasing threat of viral and parasitic infections caused by insects, this year’s World Health Day (April 7) highlights ‘Prevention of vector borne diseases.’

Vector borne diseases are diseases caused by pathogens that are transmitted to humans through insects and ticks carrying the pathogen. They are difficult to prevent because of several challenges facing the control of vectors and transmissibility of the pathogens. Here are top 10 vector borne diseases that contribute to increased morbidity and mortality:

1. Malaria: According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria is the deadliest of all vector-borne diseases, which accounts for nearly 1.2 million deaths all over the world every year and is prevalent in about 100 countries. The disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Plasmodium. The most common species of Plasmodium responsible for most malaria cases are Plasmodm flaciparum and Plasmodium vivax. The parasite is transmitted to humans via the vector female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bearing the protozoa transmits the disease to humans by biting at night. The parasite then attacks the red blood cells and reaches the liver causing symptoms like fever, chills and anemia.

2. Kala Azar: Leishmaniasis or Kala Azar ranks second (malaria being the first on the list) on the list of fatal diseases caused by parasites. It is mainly prevalent in India, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Brazil and Sudan. It is caused by protozoan parasite of the genus Leishmania. In India, Leishmania donovani is the only parasite causing the disease. The parasite is transmitted to humans by female sand flies. Upon entry, the parasite attacks the immune system and causes ulcers or sores at the site of entry.

3. Dengue: Dengue is common in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. In the recent years, transmission of dengue has significantly increased in urban areas and has become a major public health concern. According to the current estimates of WHO, dengue infections have reached 50–100 million worldwide, annually. Dengue is caused by a virus that is transmitted to humans by the vector Aedes Aegypti mosquito.

4. Plague: Plague had an explosive epidemic and was a major health concern at the beginning of the 20th century. It is a deadly disease caused by the bacteria Yersina pestis. It is primarily transmitted by rodents. But it is also spread through insects that acquire the infection from rats harboring the bacteria. Common insect that acquires the bacteria from rodents is flea. The bacteria enter the blood stream after a flea bite and attack the cells of the immune system. They secrete toxins which causes clots and tissue death.

5. Filariasis: Lymphatic filariasis is commonly called elephantiasis. Although the disease is quite widespread, it is neglected diseases because it is more disfiguring and disabling than fatal. Currently, more than 120 million people are infected and nearly 40 million people suffer from the fully developed disease. Filariasis is caused by thread like filarial worms or nematodes. Wuchereria bancrofti is the most common filarial worm, causing the disease in 90 percent of the cases. The worm is carried by and transmitted to humans by mosquitoes –mainly Culex mosquito. The worm invades the lymphatic system causing profuse selling mainly in the legs.

6. Chickungunya: Chickungunya has been identified in 40 different countries including India. It is caused by a virus classified under the family Togaviridae, genus Alphavirus. It is transmitted to humans by Aedes mosquito (mainly Aedes aegypti) in the daytime. Common symptoms of the disease are similar to dengue.

7. Lyme disease: Lyme disease is caused by the spirochete bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. It is transmitted to humans by black-legged ticks that are infected with the bacteria. Upon entry, the bacterium attacks the central nervous system and causes neurological problems.

8. Yellow fever: Mainly found tropical South America and sub-Saharan Africa region, yellow fever is a mosquito-borne viral disease. The disease is caused by the yellow fever virus and spread by female mosquito of Aedes aegypti species. The virus affects the cells of the immune system and causes symptoms like fever, chills, nausea and muscle pain.

9. Chagas’ disease: Chagas’ Disease is widely found in communities of Latin America. It is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by a large insect called ‘kissing bug’ (Reduviidae Tratominae). The parasite damage several organs and mainly affects heart function.

10. Japanese encephalitis: It is a viral disease that is spread through infected Culex mosquito. The virus mainly affects the central nervous system and causes headache, fever, meningitis, coma, tremors, paralysis and loss of coordination. Several cases of the disease have been found in India. The most affected states include Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and Kerala.

Source: Naira land

Malaria ‘spreading to new altitudes’

Malaria (1)

Warmer temperatures are causing malaria to spread to higher altitudes, a study suggests.

Researchers have found that people living in the highlands of Africa and South America are at an increased risk of catching the mosquito-borne disease during hotter years.

They believe that temperature rises in the future could result in millions of additional cases in some areas. The research is published in the journal Science. Prof Mercedes Pascual, from the University of Michigan in the US, who carried out the research, said: “The impact in terms of increasing the risk of exposure to disease is very large.”

Vulnerable to disease

Areas at higher altitudes have traditionally provided a haven from this devastating disease. Both the malaria parasite and the mosquito that carries it struggle to cope with the cooler air.

Prof Pascual said: “The risk of the disease decreases with altitude and this is why historically people have settled in these higher regions.” But the scientists say the disease is entering new regions that had previously been malaria-free.

To investigate, scientists looked at densely populated areas in the highlands of Colombia and Ethiopia, where there are detailed records of both temperature and malaria cases from the 1990s to 2005.

They found that in warmer years, malaria shifted higher into the mountains, while in cooler years it was limited to lower elevations.

“This expansion could in a sense account for a substantial part of the increase of cases we have already observed in these areas,” said Prof Pascual.

The team believes that rising temperatures could cause a further spread.

In Ethiopia, where nearly half of the population live at an altitude of between 1,600m (5,250ft) and 2,400m, the scientists believe there could be many more cases.

“We have estimated that, based on the distribution of malaria with altitude, a 1C rise in temperature could lead to an additional three million cases in under-15-year-olds per year,” said Prof Pascual.

The team believes that because people living in areas that have never been exposed to malaria are particularly vulnerable to the disease, attempts to stop the spread should be focused on areas at the edge of the spread. The disease is easier to control there than at lower altitudes where it has already established.

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627,000 deaths. Most deaths occur among children living in Africa.

Source: BBC news

Malaria: High risk focused in 10 African countries


Gains in fighting malaria in sub-Saharan Africa have left the highest risk for the disease concentrated in 10 countries, according to a study published by The Lancet medical journal.

Nigeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Ivory Coast, Mozambique, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Mali, Guinea and Togo together account for 87 percent of areas that have the highest prevalence of malaria, it said.

The study assessed the effectiveness of the battle against malaria, which went into higher gear with the launch of the Roll Back Malaria initiative in 2000.

Since then, financial support has risen from $100 million (73 million euros) annually to about $2 billion (1.46 billion euros).

The researchers drew up a map of the changing face of malaria from thousands of surveys of prevalence of the disease among children in 44 countries.

They set down three categories of risk: high, meaning places where more than 50 percent of the population were likely to be infected by the Plasmodium falciparum parasite; moderate (10 to 50 percent of the population infected); and low (less than 10 percent).

From 2000 to 2010, the number of people living in areas of high-risk infection fell from 219 million to 184 million, a decline of 16 percent.

But the numbers living in moderate-risk locations rose from 179 million to 280 million, a rise of 57 percent.

The good news was that the tally of people living in low-risk areas rose from 131 million to 219 million.

Four countries — Cape Verde, Eritrea, South Africa and Ethiopia — joined Swaziland, Djibouti and Mayotte in the elite club of countries where transmission levels are so low that elimination of malaria is a realistic goal.

The researchers said the overall picture was mixed, and important gains had been partly offset by population increase — over the decade, an extra 200 million people were born in places with malaria.

“Substantial reductions in malaria transmission have been achieved in endemic countries in Africa over the period 2000-2010,” the paper said.

“However, 57 percent of the population in 2010 continued to live in areas where transmission remains moderate to intense and global support to sustain and accelerate the reduction of transmission must remain a priority.”

In its 2013 report on malaria, the World Health Organisation (WHO) last December said 3.3 million lives had been saved worldwide since 2000.

Even so, the mosquito-borne disease still killed 627,000 people last year, mainly children in Africa and Southeast Asia.

The agency pointed to a shortage of funding and a lack of access to artemisinin malarial medicines and basic remedies such as bednets remained a serious problem, it said.

Source: New vision