Sept 9 (Reuters) – Here are some facts about malaria:
* WHAT IS MALARIA?
— Malaria can be fatal. It is transferred to humans from the bite of a malaria-infected mosquito. Symptoms include fever and a flu-like illness. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea can occur and even anaemia and jaundice. One type, Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, seizures, coma and death.
— Usually, people get malaria by being bitten by an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Only Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria and they must have been infected through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person.
— When a mosquito bites an infected person, a small amount of blood is taken in which contains microscopic malaria parasites. A week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito’s saliva and are injected into the person being bitten.
— As the malaria parasite is found in red blood cells of an infected person, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared use of needles or syringes contaminated with blood.
— Approximately, 40 percent of the world’s population, mostly those living in the world’s poorest countries, are at risk of malaria. Every year, more than 500 million people become severely ill with malaria.
— Malaria mortality is estimated at around 1 million deaths worldwide per year. The vast number of malaria deaths occur among young children in Africa, especially in remote rural areas with poor access to health services. An African child has on average between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year. Every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria in Africa.
— African countries hardest hit by malaria are failing to contain it and a new U.N. campaign launched on World Malaria Day on April 25, aimed to ensure that all Africa has access to basic malaria control measures.
— According to the WHO’s Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, up to $2 billion is needed a year to halve the burden of malaria by 2010. There is an annual shortfall of $1.4 billion.
— Former U.S. President Bill Clinton unveiled a deal last July with six Chinese and Indian companies to cut a key malaria drug price by a third and slash the price volatility of a vital ingredient by 70 percent. Artemisinin-based combination therapies, or ACT drugs, are recommended by the WHO because of growing resistance to older treatments such as chloroquine. The lower prices will be available to the 69 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean who make up the Clinton foundation’s purchasing consortium.