New strategies needed for elimination of malaria

mosquito

New Delhi, September 26 (India Science Wire): India has the third highest malaria burden in the world and it contributes the largest number of cases and deaths in the South-East Asia region. New strategies are needed for elimination of malaria as the occurrence of the disease is undergoing changes, experts have suggested.  

Earlier
most malaria cases were due to Plasmodium falciparum parasite but new
studies shows that Plasmodium vivax is also causing new infections and severe
manifestation of the disease. This has emerged from a study done by researchers
from S P Medical College Rajasthan and BITS Pilani.

It
is Plasmodium falciparum that is considered to be more deadly but in the
past few years Plasmodium vivax has also taken a deadly form. This has
been reported from Rajasthan. Some few years back Plasmodium malariae
has also been reported in Orissa.

Dignitaries present at the 30th
National Congress of Parasitology

“There
is a change in the spectrum of disease. Previously cerebral malaria was common
but now there is kidney and liver involvement also. Even symptoms of acute
respiratory stress syndrome are there. Fatalities are more when there is more
than one severe manifestation,” said Dr Sanjay Kumar Kochar from S.P. Medical
College while speaking to India Science Wire on the sidelines of the National
Congress of Parasitology which began here today.

He
said Plasmodium vivax was being overlooked because mostly it causes
symptoms similar to those of falciparum and it was being missed.

The
government has developed the National Framework for Malaria Elimination by 2030.
Elimination is defined by the WHO as interruption of local transmission or
reduction to zero incidences of indigenous cases of malaria parasite species in
a defined geographic area. This goal cannot be achieved in Asia or globally
without India making substantial progress. There is a decline in the number of
malaria cases but the problem is still there as it is a multi-factorial
disease.

“We
need to have effective resistance-free drugs. It would be good if we can have
some personalized drugs for malaria too. Surveillance on the parasite site is
another important aspect where we need to keep an eye. We are just making
efforts to keep track of P. falciparum and P. vivax but like in
Odisha we are facing a species new to India Plasmodium malariae” said
Dr. Shailja Singh, Associate Professor at Special Centre for Molecular
Medicine, Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The
30th National Congress of Parasitology and Global Summit on Malaria Elimination
is being jointly organized by the Special Centre for Molecular Medicine, Jawaharlal
Nehru University and the Indian Society for Parasitology.

By Jyoti Singh

(India Science Wire)

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