Malaria Bites Back

By Garner, David | Geographical, February 2000 | Go to article overview

Malaria Bites Back


Garner, David, Geographical


Twenty years ago doctors were hailing the eradication of malaria as a great success story. But they spoke too soon. Malaria is back with a vengeance and claiming over a million lives a year

Mosquitos are a constant irritation for people who live in tropical climates. The sound of one hovering above your bed at night is hard to ignore at the best of times, and even less welcome when you know a single bite could transmit a fatal dose of malaria. Although only the female anopheles mosquito carries malaria, over 300 million people suffer from the disease every year, and over a million die. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 85 per cent of deaths are in children under the age of five. This figure is likely to double as the disease overruns health controls and returns to parts of the world where it was once eradicated.

The break down of the former Soviet Union in the 1990s brought an end to large-scale malaria control programmes managed centrally by Moscow. Once, these kept the mosquito under control but now malaria has re-emerged in countries across central Asia, including Tajikistan and Azerbaijan. Plasmodium falciparum, the most deadly strain of malaria is emerging for the first time in 30 years across the southern borders of Tajikistan carried in from Afghanistan. With increasing climate change, malaria is now pushing the boundaries of its range all over the world. In the USA, cases of malaria are now regularly reported and the disease is also encroaching on new parts of Europe. Last summer saw the first reported case in Spain.

The reasons for malaria's massive expansion are complex. The breakdown of national malaria control programmes, global climate change, large-scale population displacements in war, crumbling health services in many of the worst affected countries and increasing resistance of the parasite to available treatments are all contributors. A staggering 80 per cent of all fatalities from malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Poor countries such as Mozambique, long debilitated by conflict and international debts, struggle to provide adequate medical facilities. Even where hospitals and clinics do exist, appropriate drugs are often in short supply.

In early 1998, climate was a major player in the malaria epidemic that struck northeast Kenya. The outbreak followed four months of unusually heavy rainfall, resulting from the 1997-98 El Nino phenomenon. Conditions were ideal for mosquitos to breed in the massive areas of surface flood water. Health workers at the El-Das dispensary in Wajir witnessed a dramatic rise in the number of malaria cases towards the end of 1997. By the start of the following year, children under five were dying from malaria at a rate of nine a day. A widespread epidemic was underway with over 500 per cent more than usual malaria cases across the district and a dramatic increase in the severity of infections.

A second epidemic occurred in western Kenya last year in June, with a similar profile to the earlier outbreak. Malaria has only become common in this highland area over the last decade. This latest epidemic was the largest and was aggravated by poor access to effective healthcare. Aid workers say this is a common situation, especially in Africa. In the complex emergencies that have become commonplace across the continent, malaria normally constitutes up to 50 per cent of all illness. During epidemics, this can rise to over 90 per cent.

Drug-resistant strains of malaria are one of the major reasons for the global spread of the disease -- and a real challenge for the medical community. Researchers have found that the parasite can gain resistance to chemicals very quickly, particularly when the drugs are misused and courses of treatment not completed. Chloroquine, the drug of choice for both prevention and treatment of malaria since the 1940s is still the first line of treatment in most of Africa. In many countries resistance has developed so far that the drug has become largely ineffective I against the Plasmodium falciparum strain that is responsible for most fatalities. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Malaria Bites Back
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.