Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Penn State Joins International Research Program to Study Malaria

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Penn State Joins International Research Program to Study Malaria

Article excerpt

STATE COLLEGE, Penn.

Researchers at Pennsylvania State University are teaming up with institutions in Thailand to study, and hopefully combat, one of the deadliest diseases on the planet. Although the rates of malarial infections in Thailand have decreased over the past two decades, the debilitating disease is still a major health problem, particularly in the more rural parts of that country.

Globally, more than 300 million people contract malaria from mosquito bites every year. Approximately 1.5 million die from the disease, and many of the survivors face a lifetime of poor health. Scientists have identified four species of malaria, but two--Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax--are responsible for the vast majority of infections.

"While major focus has been on P. falciparum, the most deadly of all malaria species, the burden of P. vivax has largely been neglected," says Dr. Liwang Cui, assistant professor of entomology at Penn State. "In recent years, worldwide distribution of P. vivax has expanded significantly, and the number of cases has been on the rise."

To counter the spread of the P. vivax species, Cui is working with researchers from Thailand's Mahidol University and the Armed Forces Research Institute of Medical Sciences, a joint U. …

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