New Genus of Malaria reported in Kerala

A new genus of malaria, identified as ‘plasmodium ovale’ has been identified in Kerala, in a soldier with travel history to Sudan.Plasmodium ovale which is endemic to Western Africa was detected in a soldier who had returned from Sudan.. This is the first case of malaria caused by the rare genus in the state; so far, India has only reported around ten cases of the disease caused by this protozoan.

Types of Malaria

Malaria is caused by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, if the mosquito itself is infected with a malarial parasite.

There are five kinds of malarial parasites — Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax (the commonest ones), Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium knowlesi. Therefore, to say that someone has contracted the Plasmodium ovale type of malaria means that the person has been infected by that particular parasite.

What Is Plasmodium Ovale

Plasmodium ovale is one of the four genuses of the protozoan plasmodium which causes malarial infection and is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Unlike the common plasmodium falciparum, ovale is dormant in the liver of the person who has been bit by the mosquito.

Plasmodium ovale which is the last of the four species to be identified, is endemic to Sub-Saharan Africa. Some Pacific islands have reported the presence of the protozoan. Diagnosed by the onset of fever, the parasite levels of ovale are lower than P.vivax and P.falciparum.

Due to its capability to lie latent and dormant in the liver, reinfections of plasmodium ovale are common.  P ovale rarely causes severe illness and there is no need for panic because of the case detected in Kerala.Symptoms include fever for 48 hours , headache and nausea, and the treatment modality is the same as it is for a person infected with P vivax.

In India, out of 1.57 lakh malaria cases in the high-burden states of Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Meghalaya and Madhya Pradesh in 2019, 1.1 lakh cases (70%) were cases of falciparum malaria.

World malaria report 2020(WHO)

The 2020 edition of the World malaria report takes a historical look at key milestones that helped shape the global response to the disease over the last 2 decades – a period of unprecedented success in malaria control. The report features a detailed analysis on progress towards the 2020 milestones of WHO’s global malaria strategy and a special section on malaria and the COVID-19 pandemic.

India made impressive gains in the global fight against malaria, recording the largest reduction in cases in South-East Asia from 20 million in 2000 to about 5.6 million last year, according to the World Health Organisation.

The WHO noted the impressive gains made by India in the fight against malaria, with reductions in cases and deaths of 18% and 20%, respectively, over the last two years.

India also recorded a decrease in the number of deaths from malaria between 2000 and 2019.

Malaria deaths in India declined from about 29,500 in 2000 to about 7,700 last year, the report said.

In the WHO South-East Asia Region, malaria deaths reduced by 74 per cent, from about 35,000 in 2000 to 9,000 in 2019.

India, however, still accounted for 88 per cent of cases and 86 per cent of malaria deaths in the WHO South-East Asia Region in 2019.The report noted that the 11 highest burden countries – Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, India, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda and Tanzania – account for 70% of the global estimated case burden and 71% of global estimated deaths from malaria.

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