Tropical disease: A resistant malaria pathogen is spreading in Southeast Asia
According to scientists, a malaria form is spreading in the Mekong region in Southeast Asia, against which the current therapy does not work. The experts fear that the dangerous pathogen could even spread to other regions of the world. Vacationers should protect themselves from mosquito bites.
Malaria pathogens resistant to common medication
Thailand, Laos, Cambodia: Southeast Asia is one of the most popular vacation regions in the world. Every year millions of tourists travel to the area to relax on dream beaches, visit ancient temples and enjoy the wonderful food. However, various health threats from tropical diseases also threaten in these countries. It is currently being pointed out that a malaria pathogen is spreading in the Mekong region that does not respond to common medications.
Infectious diseases in Southeast Asia
Vacationers who spend the best time of the year in Southeast Asia are always advised to protect themselves from the infectious diseases that occur there. At the beginning of last year, for example, there was increased attention to the spread of the tropical disease melioidosis. Dengue fever is also common.
But tourists are mostly worried about malaria. And this fear is justified because resistant pathogens have been spreading in Southeast Asia for years.
Proven ten years ago
According to a recent study, a malaria form that does not respond to common therapies is spreading in the Mekong region in Southeast Asia. According to the scientists at the Mahidol University in Bangkok, this pathogen was first detected in Cambodia in 2007 and has since been rampant in parts of northeast Thailand, southern Laos and eastern Myanmar.
As the researchers report in the journal "The Lancet Infectious Diseases", the pathogen is resistant to the usual treatment with the herbal substance artemisinin.
According to the information, the pathogen line displaced the less dangerous strands in the region.
Dangerous levels of malaria could spread to other continents
The experts fear that the dangerous malaria streak could spread further to India or even to Africa. The same thing happened in the 1950s and 1960s with two strands resistant to the therapies of the time. At that time, millions of people died in India and Africa from the disease transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito.
Nicholas White from Mahidol University's Tropical Institute called for more efforts to fight malaria. "There is a lot of discussion, but too little work is being done on the subject," he said, according to a AFP news agency.
According to him, it is becoming increasingly difficult to treat the disease. "We are losing a dangerous race."
Arjen Dondorp, lead author of the study, particularly warned against the spread of the dangerous malaria strain in Africa: "If it were in Africa, it would be a disaster, because there are most malaria cases worldwide."
Protection against mosquito bites
A malaria vaccine is not yet available. Vacationers should definitely protect themselves with long-sleeved clothing and insect repellents.
Depending on the accommodation, a mosquito net can also be useful. Another way to protect yourself from the annoying bloodsuckers is garlic. Mosquitoes don't like its smell. It should be noted that the Anopheles mosquito bites almost without exception at dawn or after sunset. (ad)