"Super malaria" rapidly spreading throughout Southeast Asia

"Super malaria" rapidly spreading throughout Southeast Asia

A more dangerous form of the malaria parasite that's resistant to regular anti-malaria drugs is rapidly spreading throughout Southeast Asia.

Due to recent advances in medicine, being infected with malaria is no longer as big a threat as it used to be decades ago. However, a form of 'super malaria' that's more resistant to regular anti-malaria medicine is now worrying scientists as it could potentially become a global threat.

It's rapidly spreading throughout Southeast Asia

Primarily a tropical disease, the new form of malaria emerged in Cambodia and is now rapidly spreading throughout parts of Thailand, Laos, and Southern Vietnam.

A team at the Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said that there is a risk that the more powerful strain of malaria might soon become untreatable.

According to Prof Arjen Dondorp, the unit's head, "It is alarming that this strain is spreading so quickly through the whole region and we fear it can spread further [and eventually] jump to Africa."

It's resistant to the current form of treatment for malaria

When it comes to malaria, the most common form of treatment would be to use the drugs artemisinin along with piperaquine. However, this 'super malaria' has been found to be resistant to artemisinin and has recently evolved to be resistant to piperaquine as well.

Prof Dondorp added that the failure rate of the treatment is now 30% in Vietnam, but now it's as high as 60% in Cambodia. If the new form of malaria spreads through Africa, where 92% of malaria cases happen, it could have devastating effects.

This is why researchers are rushing to figure out a way of stopping the spread of this new form of malaria before it once again becomes an untreatable disease.

Prevention is the most important way of combating malaria

As malaria is spread mainly through mosquito bites, specifically that of the female Anopheles mosquito, the best way of combatting the spread of malaria would be to curb the spread of mosquitos.

Here are some ways to prevent the spread of mosquitoes and mosquito-borne diseases in your home:

  • Make sure that any source of standing water is covered tightly so that it won't become an environment where mosquitoes can breed in.
  • Clean your surroundings, and make sure that there are no spots where water can pool and become stagnant.
  • Fumigate your home to get rid of any mosquitoes in your area.
  • Use mosquito nets as well as insect repellents in order to prevent being bitten by mosquitoes.

Source: bbc.com

READ: Surviving Dengue: how to protect your kids from mosquitoes

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