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Drug-Resistant Malaria Strain Concerns the Provinces

Muny Sithyna / Khmer Times No Comments Share:
Anti-malaria drugs being sold in the market (Photo: AFP)

PHNOM PENH, August 5, (Khmer Times) – A new study warns that a strain of drug-resistant malaria is on the loose in Cambodia and other South-east Asian regions.
The mosquito-borne disease is concentrated mostly in the western province of Pailin, bordering Thailand. For the moment, residents of Phnom Penh City can rest assured that the capital is free from the problematic malaria strain.
The World Health Organization’s Communication Officer of Emergency Response to Artemisinin Resistance, Sonny Krishnan, said, “There is no malaria in Phnom Penh, only dengue [fever].”
According to Mr. Krishnan, Cambodia is looking at a new malarial drug, Pyramax, an Artemisinin-derivative. A safety study is currently being conducted in Pailin.
A report on malaria by Dr. Char Meng Chuor, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria control (CNM), implies that malaria is no longer the primary cause of death for Cambodian populations. Over the first six months of this year, malaria cases were down by 18 percent (15,982 cases) when compared to the same period last year. 
“Through all this time, our nation was able to respond with changes in treatment regimens that have kept us one step ahead of the resistance problem,” said Dr. Char Meng Chuor. “Phnom Penh is not a malaria endemic area and flooding has no impact on malaria in this area.”
A recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that among the blood samples taken from 1,241 malarial patients across Asia and Africa, researchers found resistance against the effective anti-malarial drug, Artemisinin, in Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam and Eastern Myanmar. 
Pailin has been the central point where Plasmodium falciparum parasites have developed resistance since the 1960s. Artemisinin-based combination therapies were adopted as the first-line treatment for uncomplicated malaria in Cambodia in 2000.  

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