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Drug-resistant malaria spreading fast in South-East Asia, warn experts

Published on Jul 31, 2014 6:42 AM
This 2010 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention photo shows two "Anopheles gambiae" mosquitoes, the principal vector of malaria in Africa, as the female (top) is in the process of egg-laying atop a sheet of egg paper pictured with the male (bottom). -- PHOTO: REUTERS

PARIS (AFP) - Drug-resistant malaria parasites are now firmly established in border regions in four South-east Asian countries, imperilling global efforts to control the disease, experts warned on Wednesday.

Blood samples taken from 1,241 malaria patients found that parasites which are resistant to the frontline drug artemisinin have spread to border areas in western and northern Cambodia, eastern Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, they said.

There also signs of emerging resistance in central Myanmar, southern Laos and northeastern Cambodia, but none in three African states - Kenya, Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) - that were included in the sampling.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, said doubling the course of antimalarial treatment, from three days to six, could help fight the resistance problem but time was short.

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