Health: New malaria threats call for extra vigilance


As Guinea entered the final countdown to be classed Ebola-free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in late 2015, scientists were already warning of new threats to the continent’s fragile healthcare systems.

A study published in the journal Nature Communications warned that a drug resistant malaria parasite, which has spread rapidly through Southeast Asia, was able cross the species barrier from Asian mosquitos to Africa’s dominant species, Anopheles coluzzii.

Epidemiologists fear a rapid spread of the parasite, which has rendered the world’s primary anti-malarial drug, artemisinin, useless. As if the prospect of one pandemic was not enough, new research into Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), found that almost half of Kenya’s population of camels were infected.

Last year, the WHO warned that Africa needed to defend itself better against an outbreak of MERS, for which there is no vaccine or treatment, citing concerns that African pilgrims participating in the Hajj in Saudi Arabia could return with the disease.

Should a human-to-humans train mutate with one carried by Kenya’s camel population and spread, the coronavirus could become “a threat to the entire world,” the WHO reports chillingly

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