Malaria remains a major threat, says expert

Last Updated: Jul 06, 2013, 17:07 PM IST

New Delhi: Malaria has been eradicated in North America but the region is not immune to the disease yet.

This is because North America is still home to the vector which is the female anopheles mosquito, an expert said here Friday.

This means that there could be small outbreaks of malaria if somebody infected with the disease from the endemic parts of the world visits such regions, Amit Sharma of Italy`s International Centre for Genetics and Biotechnology said.

Sharma said malaria was one of the biggest killers of children in Africa.

The problem, he said, is so severe in Africa that 50 percent of children who have been afflicted with malaria and survived will have seizures while around 10 percent will have neurological problems throughout life.

Unlike common perception, the disease is not limited to the tropical areas, Sharma said.

The malarial parasite has become resistant to most drugs within years of introduction. Thus the only available option is to treat the disease with multi-drug therapy, the expert added.

He said that although research was on for vaccination against the disease, the best preventive method was using medicated mosquito nets.

According to him, global warming was contributing directly to malaria as the parasite develops in warmer climate.

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease caused by plasmodium. It begins with a bite from an infected female anopheles mosquito.

Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death.