Yesenia Amaro, The Phnom Penh Post
Mon, 22 August 2016
A new study has predicted that even if Cambodia manages to eradicate so-called “human” strains of malaria by 2025 – a key government goal – it will continue be at “high risk” of infections from a strain of the parasite more typically found in wild monkeys and transmissible to humans.
The peer-reviewed research, published earlier this month in the scientific journal PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, created the first map of plasmodium knowlesi malaria risk to identify priority areas of surveillance based on regions with sparse data and high estimated risk.
P. knowlesi is a malaria parasite commonly found in wild monkeys and can infect humans via mosquitoes that pick up the strain from the primates. It can lead to severe and fatal symptoms in humans.
“The geographical distribution of this disease is largely unknown because it is often misdiagnosed as one of the human malarias,” the study reads. “Understanding the geographical distribution of p. knowlesi is important for identifying areas where malaria transmission will continue after the human malarias have been eliminated.”
Human infections of this parasite have already been reported in nine Southeast Asian countries, including Cambodia, the report says. But Huy Rekol, director of the National Malaria Centre, last week denied that claim.