Scientists call for malaria rethink

22 April 2013 09:30

Men are more likely to contract malaria in countries where the overall levels of the disease are falling, research has shown

Men are more likely to contract malaria in countries where the overall levels of the disease are falling, research has shown

Scientists have said new measures are needed to tackle malaria in countries that have seen levels of the disease fall. A study has found in places such as Malaysia and Bhutan there are areas where the infection remains, especially among men living or working outdoors.

Researchers writing in the Lancet said results show measures such as nets, which help in homes, are ineffective. They highlight that treated clothing or hammocks might be a better alternative. The findings differ to places with high levels of malaria, with women and young children mostly affected in those areas.

The results show in countries where malaria levels are reducing, men who either work in plantations and forests, or sleep in fields overnight are more likely to be infected. The researchers recommend different malaria measures are needed alongside traditional prevention work to turn this around.

The findings might be a timely reminder for people to make sure they take out every possible precaution over malaria, including medical travel insurance to provide peace of mind over any required treatment.

Prof Sir Richard Feachem, director of the Global Health Group at the University of California, San Francisco, said although worldwide malaria control strategies had been successful, they must now look to respond to changing infection patterns.

The lead author of the study added: "More sophisticated and targeted approaches to identifying those people who are infected, and responding promptly and effectively, must be put in place," he added.

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