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Malaria Could Kill 100,000 Says WHO and Malaria Expert

January 13, 2005

by Kevin Caruso

Richard Allan, director of the Mentor Initiative, an aid group leading the malaria campaign in Indonesia, and a recognized expert in malaria, said that 100,000 people could be killed in the coming months in the regions hit by the tsunami if measures are not taken quickly to kill mosquitoes.

And the World Health Organization (WHO) has also indicated that over 100,000 people could die if adequate steps are not taken to prevent malaria.

“The combination of the tsunami and the rains are creating the largest single set of [mosquito] breeding sites that Indonesia has ever seen in its history," said Allan.

[People in the affected regions] are stressed. They've got multiple infections already and their immune systems are weakened," Allan said. "Any immunity they had is gone."

Seven confirmed cases of malaria have already occurred in the disaster zone in Indonesia.

Health workers are working assiduously fumigating one house after the other in the province of Banda Aceh, Indonesia, the region that was hit hardest by the tsunami.

Other waterborne diseases that can occur after a disaster include cholera, typhoid, and dysentery; but they usually occur within a few days after the disaster.

“So far, we seem to have largely escaped [the other waterborne diseases],” said Allan. ”But the risk never goes away; it just diminishes.”

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