Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Ugandan malaria cases blamed on climate change

Robert Muhereza in AllAfrica.com via the Monitor (Uganda): At least six people have died and scores suffering since December last year, following a malaria outbreak in Kamwezi Sub-county, Kabale District. 600 hundred cases are recorded every week in Kamwezi, according to Kabale District Vector Control Officer, James Turyeimuka. Mr Turyaimuka said the district never used to experience malaria because of its temperate climate.

The mountainous areas of Kabale have gained 1.2 degree celsius in the last 20 years and opened the population to new infections like malaria. Mr Turyamuhika said heavy rains that were expected in the area between October and December were nowhere last year. Instead, Mr Turyaimuka said moderate rains and hot conditions were experienced, creating a conducive environment for mosquito breeding.

"It is abnormal and clearly demonstrates that there is a real epidemic. We have requested for emergency drugs to help us control the epidemic," Mr Turyeimuka said. He advised people who suspect to be suffering from malaria to go for early treatment. Malaria accounts for 70,000-110,000 child deaths annually in Uganda.

It accounts for 40 per cent of Ugandan public health expenditure. In industry and agriculture, malaria accounts for more than 50 per cent of all man hours lost. This affects production and revenue for the industry, families and the nation….

This false-colored electron micrograph shows a malarial sporozoite migrating through the cytoplasm of midgut epithelia. Image by Ute Frevert; false color by Margaret Shear, Wikmedia Commons via a Public Library of Science journal, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Generic license.

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