Malaria Making a Comeback ; Time to “Wage a Large-Scale Battle”

photo+courtesy+of+wsj.com.

photo courtesy of wsj.com.

Doctors now believe it’s time to “wage a large-scale battle with the mosquito-borne disease,” Malaria,  according to wsj.com.

According to unicefusa.org, Malaria is the third biggest killer in the world, with 100% of all the deaths curable. Ninety percent of the deaths occur in Africa, accounting for 1 in every 6 childhood deaths. In the years between 2000 and 2010, Malaria’s death rate dropped by 20%, saving thousands of lives. According to Dr. White, Malaria may be making a comeback.

Dr. Nick White, known as “the grandmaster” of drug therapy for Malaria among colleagues, now believes Malaria is making a comeback. Doctors, such as Dr. White, worry that Malaria may become immune to artemisinin, reported wsj.com. Artemisinin is a drug used by doctors to treat patients with Malaria.

At 63 years old, Dr. White has worked more than half his life, 35 years, at Mahidol Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit, or MORU. According to passcomms.com, Dr. White was the longest serving director and is now the chair of the Wellcome Trust Southeast Asian tropical medicine research units.

Symptoms of Malaria include fever and similar symptoms to the flu. It is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium. This parasite is transmitted through bites from mosquitoes. The parasite then grows in the liver and corrupts red blood cells. An even more deadly from of this disease is known as Plasmodium Falciparum. This form of the disease is fatal.

One solution being approached by researchers, is to give drugs to everyone in infected areas, whether they’re sick or not. White and his team are testing this approach in several places in Cambodia, Vietnam and along Thailand’s border with Myanmar, reported wsj.com.

“The response to this emergency is far too slow,” Dr. White says. “Overall, I think this should be fought as a war, with research providing the real-time, actionable intelligence. Wars are not fought by committees.”

“I would say we should have taken much more action five years ago,” Dr. Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, stated. “Certainly we should take the strongest action today. It may be too late to stamp it out completely.”

WebMd offers the following guidelines for avoiding the disease:

Prevent mosquito bites

To prevent mosquito bites, follow these guidelines:

  • Stay inside when it is dark outside, preferably in a screened or air-conditioned room.
  • Wear protective clothing (long pants and long-sleeved shirts).
  • Use insect repellent with DEET (N,N diethylmetatoluamide). The repellent is available in varying strengths up to 100%. In young children, use a preparation containing less than 24% strength, because too much of the chemical can be absorbed through the skin.
  • Use bed nets (mosquito netting) sprayed with or soaked in an insecticide such as permethrin or deltamethrin. But make sure that these insecticides still work against the mosquitoes where you are. In some areas, mosquitoes have become resistant to permethrin and deltamethrin. So the bed nets do not offer much protection.4
  • Use flying-insect spray indoors around sleeping areas.
  • Avoid areas where malaria and mosquitoes are present if you are at higher risk (for example, if you are pregnant, very young, or very old).