February 1, 2012

Targeting Malaria Hotspots

(Ivanhoe Newswire) — Malaria is a parasite disease that is passed from one human to another by the bite of infected Anopheles mosquitoes.  The parasites enter the blood stream and infect red blood cells. The disease involves shaking, chills, high fevers, anemia, and flu-like symptoms.

There are approximately 300-500 million cases of malaria each year and more than 1 million people die from it, according to the United States National Library of Medicine.  Although most cases are relative to more tropical climates, it can become dangerous for people all over the world, especially those who travel.

A recent report suggests that targeting malaria “hotspots” is a highly efficient way to reduce malaria transmission at all levels of transmission intensity.  It is not known whether these trends are global or whether they are also present in areas where political instability has hindered effective malaria control.

"Malaria hotspots appear to maintain malaria transmission in low transmission seasons and are the driving force for transmission in the high transmission season. Targeting the hotspots would mean the most infected and most diseased households would be prioritized with the added benefits of reducing transmission to the whole community," Teun Bousema, with the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, was quoted as saying.

SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, January 2012