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Infections, Outbreaks and Trends

Resistant malaria on the rise!

Malaria is still a constant threat in our neighbouring countries. With Singaporeans going to increasingly exotic destinations – some for travel, others for work, it is pertinent that we protect ourselves adequately. In Singapore, there were 149 cases in 2011, with a median cases of 168 between the years 2006 to 2010 based on the information from Ministry of Health, Singapore.

One concern is always malaria. It kills and yet preventable with the appropriate malaria prophylaxis. Different types of drugs are available eg chloroquine, mefloquine, doxycycline and malarone (atovaquone and proguanil hydrochloride). Use must be individualized, based on their travel risks and their own health profile.

There is now news of increasing resistance to malaria. The report was published online, brought to my attention by the not-for-profit organization ProMED. You can view it here.

The problem of resistance is propagated by
1.    Lack of health care facilities
2.    Lack of affordable and good medications
3.    Use of sub-standard drug
4.    Infectious individuals who are not quarantined and treated.

Speak to your doctor on malaria prophylaxis. Give detailed accounts of where you are going, and your individual’s health. Significant history includes pregnancy, history of drug allergy, any psychiatric illness, any other medications (risk of interactions), and history of abdominal pain. Get the most appropriate medications for malaria prophylaxis based on your own health and risk profile. It hurts me every time I see a patient suffer from malaria. It shatters me when I hear of individuals dying from malaria when it is preventable!

References
1.    http://www.moh.gov.sg/content/dam/moh_web/Statistics/Infectious_Diseases_Bulletin/2011/December/2011_week_52.pdf
2.    http://www.iol.co.za/scitech/science/news/drug-resistant-malaria-on-the-rise-1.1416104#.UJPnZ2-zKSo
3.    http://www.promedmail.org/direct.php?id=20121103.1389487

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