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Monday, September 9, 2013

Chad malaria cases hit emergency levels

Via The Guardian :

A tenfold spike in malaria infections in south-east Chad, with many of the severest cases in young children, has triggered an emergency operation by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF).
The number of reported new cases rose from 1,228 in the first week of August to 14,021 by the end of the month at the charity's project in Am Timan, Salamat region. The estimated death toll is more than 50; the town has a population of 213,000.
At its outreach sites, the charity's teams said 73% of patients they have been treating were suffering from the mosquito-borne disease.
One in four deaths in Chad is attributed to malaria and it is the most common cause of death in children. MSF said it was not unusual for cases to peak during the rainy season, from July to November, but the increase was alarming.
Jason Mills, the charity's head of mission in the country, said the most likely explanation was a lack of protective bed nets combined with unusual rain patterns. Heavy rain left pools of stagnant water, which was exacerbated by further rain and a large number of mosquitoes, he added.
The rest of the country has also been inundated, particularly the south. The government plans to treat 800,000 cases this year, an increase of 25% on 2012, and has so far treated 450,000, disrupting medical supplies. Rain patterns were probably the cause, Mills said."

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