Northeast India on alert as malaria kills 20 in week

At least 20 people have died from malaria in a remote corner of India in the past week, putting medical authorities on high alert at the start of the monsoon season, an official said Friday.

Tripura health minister Badal Choudhury said deaths so far in the northeast state were unusually high, with doctors ordered to contain the mosquito-borne disease before it "gets out of hand".

"So far we have received reports of 20 deaths and more than 400 people afflicted with the disease in the past one week," Choudhury told AFP by telephone.

"The exact toll could be higher as we are still getting reports of malaria deaths from interior areas," he said.

"We are taking it very seriously as we do not get reports of so many deaths in the initial stages of the monsoon.

"So we need to be prepared to fight the disease soon before it gets out of hand."

Hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of people die every year from malaria in India particularly during the when the mosquitos carrying the parasite breed.

India's remote northeast region, which is forested and cut by rivers, suffers heavily from the disease whose symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhoea and jaundice.

Parts of northern Tripura bordering Bangladesh are the worst hit so far this year, and teams of doctors have been sent to the area and fumigation services stepped up.

"We have put on alert medical teams across the state to ensure the disease doesn't spread to newer areas," the minister said.

"Most of the casualties were in tribal dominated areas of Gandachera and the Longtharai Valley in the northern district of Dhalai."

According to the World Health Organisation, hundreds of people died from in 2012 in India out of 627,000 deaths globally.

But a study published in The Lancet in 2010 concluded that the number of deaths in the world's second most populous country was more than 200,000 each year.

The study said the WHO's reporting methods were flawed as it depended on patients who have been diagnosed by a doctor. Many deaths in India occur at home, rather than in a hospital or a clinic, the study said.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Oman reports three swine flu deaths

May 28, 2014

Omani health authorities announced Wednesday three deaths this month from the swine flu virus, the official ONA news agency reported.

Austrian children injected with malaria parasite (Update)

May 02, 2014

An Austrian commission following up on claims that doctors deliberately infected patients with malaria to treat others with syphilis says hundreds of people, including orphans in a psychiatric hospital, might have been infected.

Recommended for you

Study finds acupuncture does not improve chronic knee pain

1 hour ago

Among patients older than 50 years with moderate to severe chronic knee pain, neither laser nor needle acupuncture provided greater benefit on pain or function compared to sham laser acupuncture, according to a study in the ...

Ebola outbreak nears end in Nigeria

1 hour ago

The Ebola outbreak in Nigeria is almost over, US health officials said Tuesday, in a rare sign of authorities turning the tide on the highly contagious disease that has killed more than 3,000 in West Africa.

Diuretics in proton pump inhibitor-associated hypomagnesemia

2 hours ago

Proton pump inhibitor (PPI) therapy is associated with hospitalization for hypomagnesemia, particularly among patients also receiving diuretics, according to research published this week in PLOS Medicine. The study, conduc ...

User comments