Sunday, May 6, 2012

Experts in Sabah to study deadly malaria virus

KOTA KINABALU: Experts from various fields have converged on Sabah as part of an international, multi-disciplinary project team to study a rapidly re-emerging deadly strain of malaria virus that threatens Asian countries.
Sabah, being among the areas with the highest number of infection, will be the main research ground, apart from the Palawan district of the Philippines.
The subject of study is Plasmodium Knowlesi (PK) malaria, a relatively newly discovered malaria that normally infects macaque monkeys but increasingly found in human in recent years.
The group who call themselves the ‘Joint Collaborative Meeting on Plasmodium Knowlesi Malaria Research’, are currently having their first discussion hosted in Kota Kinabalu to design their research project methods and approach.
The project is funded by a research grant from the United Kingdom (UK) government amounting to three million pounds (RM14.62 million), which will be disbursed during a five-year span.
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine head of Malaria research Dr Chris Drakeley said the district of Kudat in the northern tip of Sabah would be the main focus area for the research, as the area had the highest percentage of PK last year.
Besides Kudat, the nearby island of Palawan (the Philippines) was also identified as another site to conduct the research.
“Our main goal is to find out how we can best diagnose and treat the disease. We will also identify the risk factors, to understand why certain individuals get Knowlesi malaria and others do not.
“The main aim is to be able to provide information to the Health Ministry of Malaysia, the Philippines and elsewhere on how to control this disease,” said Drakeley, who is the project principal investigator (PI) during the official opening of a four-day brainstorming yesterday.
Scientists from Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia and the Philippines have gathered here for the meeting, after a discussion in Palawan about one and a half years ago, when they first put up application for the grant.
The meeting will see discussion on fieldwork planning and protocol design of a few research projects ranging from case control, randomised control trial, disease dynamics and risk mapping of exposure and infection with Plasmodium Knowlesi in humans in the Philippines and Malaysia.
Health Ministry deputy director-general (Research and Technical Support) Datuk Dr Maimunah Abd Hamid who officiated at the event, said the ministry would give full support to this research project.
Sabah health director Dr Mohd Yusof Ibrahim said the department did not hold any specific figures on this type of malaria, but generally malaria cases have reduced significantly from over 40,000 cases ten years ago to about 2,032 cases last year.
“We have one of the best malaria programmes in the world, that’s why we were able to make significant reduction. But now we are facing this new threat of malaria,” he said.
Citing a recently published retrospective research, he said almost 32 per cent of PK patients admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital had evidence of severe disease, with case fatality rate of about 21 per cent.
“Our own surveillance has shown the number of PK cases to be on the rise; in some areas being the predominant malaria species.
“Much is still unknown about this disease but we know enough to conclude that this infection is a serious problem here in Sabah as well as Sarawak. Therefore, research in all aspects of this disease is of vital importance,” he added.


Anak Sabah said...

Malaria berlaku disebabkan nyamuk yang membawa penyakit ini, oleh itu kita perlulah memastikan kebersihan persekitaran untuk mengelakkan nyamuk daripada membiak.

Anak Sabah said...

Selain menunggu DBKK untuk membuat pembersihan, masyarakat setempat juga boleh mengadakan satu aktiviti gotong royong untuk membersihkan persekitaran. Macam iklan di TV: "Untuk Menyelamatkan Nyawa"

Green Sabah said...

Good one Anak Sabah, I remember the advertisement on TV as well. Wouldn't it be great if we can get all the residents in one area to come out and clean the surrounding together?

Green Sabah said...

Cleanliness is one of the ways to prevent mosquitoes from breeding, one of their favorite places to breed is in still water, so make sure there are no containers with water in it, any water tanks or water collection must be covered up properly.

mantera said...

penyakit malaria merbahaya dan boleh membawa kepada kematian, penjagaan kebersihan amat penting untuk menghindari jangkitan malaria.

Green Sabah said...

True Mantera, Malaria is a dangerous disease and in most cases it can cause deaths, almost 32 per cent of PK patients admitted to Queen Elizabeth Hospital had evidence of severe disease, with case fatality rate of about 21 per cent. You can see why we need to prevent Malaria from spreading out.

Hamdan Hadillah said...

Jadi mari kita sama-sama menjaga kebersihan tempat kita dan memastikan tidak ada tempat pembiakkan nyamuk.

Azroy said...

even Palawan already make their move to eradicate malaria in the province by 2015.. I hope other countries also will do the same thing and the government of the country should include this effort in their development goal..

Saya Ready said...

setuju dgn AS.. mencegah itu lebih baik dr mengubati.. jaga persekitaran dlm keadaan yg bersih adalah suatu langkah yg bijak.. setiap anggota masyarakat bertngjwb..!!

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