I was at my St Johns Ambulance Cadets meeting and we have been studying diseases and one which particularly fascinated me was not just malaria, but ‘super malaria’….
But what’s the difference between malaria and ‘super malaria’?
Well basically it is a dangerous form of the malaria parasite which cannot be killed with the main anit-malaria drugs. It emerged in Cambodia but has spread to other areas of South East Asia such as Thailand.
The team at the Mahidol-Oxford Tropical Medicine Research Unit in Bangkok said there was a real danger of malaria becoming untreatable.
Prof Arjen Dondorp, the head of the malaria unit, told the BBC News website: “We think it is a serious threat.
It frightens me to think that this ‘superbug’ will spread further and most likely to Africa and even more so to think of the thousands of deaths this may have the potential to cause if not treated properly.
It also got me thinking, as I am going to Thailand in October, how I can help prevent this as it seems anti-malaria drugs may not be all that is needed to prevent it…
Here are some other steps yo u should take if you plan on travelling anywhere in South East Asia in the future…
- Awareness of risk- visit your GP or local travel clinic before you travel to make sure that you are at a higher risk of getting malaria and specific advice
- Bite prevention- use insect repellent, cover your arms and legs and use a mosquito net
- Check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets
- Diagnosis- seek immediate medical advice if you have malaria symptoms up to a year after you return from travelling
It’s a race against the clock and we need to eliminate it before malaria becomes untreatable again and we see a lot of deaths. Around 700,000 people a year die from drug-resistant infections, including malaria and if nothing is done, this could increase to millions of people every year by 2050.
You can help reduce this number by doing something as simply as this donating to a charity organisation such as ‘Malaria No More UK’. Many people in these countries are unable to afford to buy mosquito nets and sufficient treatment and by donating to organisation which help provide these things, it can make a huge impact.
You can help make a difference while we find a cure for ‘super malaria’.