What Precautions are Critical in Malaria Endemic Areas?


During a pandemic, precautions are critical in malaria-endemic areas

An article in The Lancet, states that during the pandemic of new coronavirus disease pneumonia (COVID-19), precautionary measures are essential in areas where malaria is endemic.

At the end of 2019, the outbreak of new coronary pneumonia in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China has rapidly spread to other parts of China and even the world. As of March 12, 2020, more than 130,000 people worldwide have been infected and more than 5,000 deaths have occurred.

To curb the spread of the virus, the Chinese government has made unprecedented efforts and invested huge resources. As of March 12, 2020, malaria endemic areas in Africa have reported a number of new cases of coronary pneumonia, including Nigeria, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Given the infectious potential of the disease and its devastating efforts to control malaria, in addition to the common vigilance of countries around the world, the local epidemic of malaria needs to be considered and additional precautions required.

The lessons learned from the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa from 2014 to 2016. The emergence of Ebola virus in malaria-endemic countries, including Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, has caused public health emergencies and severely undermined previous efforts to control malaria.

In Guinea alone, malaria patients at medical institutions are estimated to be 74,000 fewer than expected compared to years without Ebola, due to a reduction in the number of malaria patients seeking appropriate health care and the allocation of malaria treatment. The amount has decreased.
The reason for this is that early symptoms of Ebola virus infection are similar to those of malaria, which makes early diagnosis difficult, and local residents are worried about getting Ebola infection in medical institutions.

As Ebola overwhelms health care systems, insufficient resources to control malaria in these areas have led to increased mortality and morbidity. In Guinea, the official number of malaria deaths reported in 2014 was 1067 (who is estimated to be 9,428), and 108 in 2013. The number of Ebola deaths in 2014 was 2,446.

What is even more shocking is that it is estimated that as a result of the Ebola outbreak, approximately 7,000 deaths in children under 5 years in Liberia and Sierra Leone have been linked to malaria. Therefore, malaria-endemic areas face real and urgent dangers when they face the threat of new infectious diseases.

Although our knowledge of neocoronary pneumonia is still evolving, it is a highly contagious disease that is believed to spread from person to person primarily through direct contact and inhalation of respiratory droplets. People with mild or asymptomatic carriers may spread the virus. In addition to China, Italy, Iran, and South Korea are also high-endemic countries. These countries may have virus exports and increase exposure.
Infectiuon from Mosquito Malaria Diseases

With Africa's growing global ties, the possibility of an outbreak in Africa cannot be ruled out. Like Ebola virus, early symptoms of new coronary pneumonia, including fever, muscle soreness, and fatigue, can be confused with malaria, leading to early clinical diagnosis errors.

These characteristics of new coronary pneumonia and previous experience with the Ebola virus outbreak suggest that malaria-endemic countries need to consider precautions not only against the threat of new coronary pneumonia, but also the possible impact on existing malaria control efforts.

The containment measures and research momentum that China and other affected countries are taking have earned valuable time for the rest of the world, and weak areas should make effective use of this time window.

WHO is monitoring the rapid evolution of the new coronary pneumonia epidemic and needs to provide advice to countries in malaria-endemic areas on how to formulate and effectively implement public health policies.
Preventive measures for new coronary pneumonia should be developed, including case and contact tracking, isolation and screening, and education designed to encourage good hand hygiene practices.
Other advance measures must be taken in these countries to control malaria to foresee the potential challenges that the public health system will face during a new coronary pneumonia outbreak.
Mosquito Borne Diseases
Although new coronary pneumonia may not occur in malaria-endemic areas, we must be cautious and recognize that such pre-emptive measures are ultimately worthwhile.
Preparedness is key to responding to any public health crisis, and malaria-endemic countries must be prepared to address the challenges that new coronary pneumonia may pose, while minimizing disruption to malaria control.


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