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The health experts on Wednesday warned against the rising population of drug-resistant malaria parasites in the border regions of four Southeast Asian countries.
This calls for immediate global efforts to control the disease, the health experts said.
The health officials confirmed the thriving of the drug resistant malaria parasites after testing the blood samples of 1,241 malaria patients. The researchers found that these parasites were resistant to the drug artemisinin.
The parasites have spread across border areas in Thailand, Vietnam, eastern Myanmar and western and northern Cambodia. Moreover, there are also signs of rising resistance in southern Laos, northeastern Cambodia and central Myanmar. However, there was no signs of the parasites in three African states- Nigeria, Kenya and Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)- which were included in the sampling.
Tropical Medicine professor Nicholas White, Oxford University, said, “It may still be possible to prevent the spread of artemisinin-resistant malaria parasites across Asia and then to Africa by eliminating them but that window of opportunity is closing fast.”
According to Nicholas, the conventional methods of malaria control won’t be enough to tackle the menace.
“We will need to take more radical action and make this a global public health priority without delay,” Nicholas said.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), malaria claimed lives of an estimated 627,000 people in the year 2012. WHO says African children were among those who were most hit by the disease.
The study was published in the New England Journal of Medicine.