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Friday, May 6, 2011

South Korea : Alarm sounded over malaria

Via The Korea Times :

" South Koreans, particularly those living close to the border with North Korea, should exercise extra caution this summer as the risk of malaria heightens, the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (KCDC) said Sunday.

It said mosquitoes carrying the malaria parasite will likely be more aggressively biting humans as large numbers of livestock, estimated at some 3.5 million, were culled and buried underground due to the nationwide foot-and-mouth disease epidemic last winter.

Mosquitoes usually attack cows, pigs and other domesticated animals in summer and spawn eggs in a pond and other stagnant waters.

According to the World Health Organization’s definition, malaria is caused by a parasite called plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes.

In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. The patients suffer exhaustion, anemia and several other symptoms. They usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite.

“Humans normally can get infected with malaria from May through October when mosquitoes are active, mostly in areas close to the North Korean border. The number of infections has been on rise over the past few years and we worry that more people may get the disease this summer,” said a KCDC official, declining to be named.

She said mosquitoes become aggressive when the temperature and humidity rises as it’s ideal to spawn eggs, adding the insects could target more humans this year as there are a fewer number of livestock to prey upon, following the massive culling to counter the foot-and-mouth disease."

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