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Malaria update in Cambodia

Updated On: Jun 08, 2009

Some researchers worry about malaria resistance in western Cambodia and along the Cambodia-Thai border as the forerunner of a global crisis.

Malaria kills about 1 million people annually. It might also put half of Cambodia’s population at risk.

Some 54,000 cases of malaria were reported in 2008.

This strain of malaria seems to have developed resistance to the artemesinin drugs.

Such drugs have been the most effective genre of anti-malaria medicine.

In trials, the drugs took up to five days to clear patients' blood of malaria parasites instead of two or three days in past experiments.

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) involving fast-relief Artemisinin derivatives and slower-acting drug to kill the parasite may lose their therapeutic effects partially.

Researchers pinpoint to the parasite's tolerance to Artemisinin, one of two drugs in ACT therapy, as one of the possible factors behind a possible reduced efficacy of ACT.

But, the drug will still remains over 90 percent efficient.

According to other researches, another possible reason for appearance of drug-resistant malaria is due to the rampant and uncontrolled use of Artemisinin monotherapy.

Another reason is due to the practice by merchants selling cheap, counterfeit monotherapies in rural areas.

Gem-mining migrants at the Thai-Cambodia border have also spread malaria around the region.

Drug-resistant malaria had also been a subject of discussion in the WHO.

The Organization had conducted a study conducted between 2006 and 2007 in Cambodia.

There is now reliance on other malaria preventive measures such as mosquito nets, which had seen remarkable progress.

A new ACT called dihydroartemisinin-piperaquine (DHA-PIP) seems to be effective, in trial runs in Cambodia.

Sources:

IRIN, "CAMBODIA: Malaria gaining tolerance to some treatments" dated 13 Jan 2009 in the IRIN website [downloaded on 3 June 2009], available at 
http://www.irinnews.org/Report.aspx?ReportId=82327

UPI, "Malaria proves resistant in Cambodia" dated 30 May 2009 in the UPI website [downloaded on 3 June 2009], available at  
http://www.upi.com/Health_News/2009/05/29/Malaria-proves-resistant-in-Cambodia/UPI-17981243623704







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