Materia Medica Malaysiana

March 21, 2007

Vector-borne diseases a growing threat, says doc

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:26 am

Star: KUALA LUMPUR: Deforestation and ever increasing migration numbers are among the reasons for a rise in vector-borne diseases such as malaria and dengue.
Researcher and former head of the Institute of Medical Research (IMR)’s Parasitology Unit Dr V. Indra said the cutting down of forests would lead to animals like monkeys being forced to wander into areas inhabited by humans.
“This means the monkeys (who also act as reservoirs) would be carrying whatever parasites they have with them. The mosquitoes that usually feed on the monkeys will also tag along, increasing the risk of vector-borne disease transmission,” she said in a plenary paper at the 43rd annual scientific seminar of the Malaysian Society of Parasitology and Tropical Medicine here yesterday.
Dr Indra said the different vectors for such diseases were present in Malaysia and the country has to ensure it was ready to fight the parasites that can be transmitted.
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek, in his speech read by IMR director Dr Shahnaz Murad, said there was a need to speed up approaches to combat infectious diseases.
“Our enemy in the form of infectious agents is only one. Diseases that could have been confined to one nation today, due to migration of population, travels and globalisation, possess sufficient potential to be pervasive enough to reach the shores of another,” he added.
Dr Chua said the rise in temperature due to global warming,natural disasters and unhealthy lifestyles have pushed countries into very vulnerable positions.
“Increasing temperatures may be conducive to vector-borne parasite transmission, and this facilitated by floods and unpredictable rains, could pose challenges in the future.”

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