Increase in Internal Migration Suspected in Malaria Uptick

More than 50,000 cases of malaria across the country were reported during the first eight months of 2009, more than 18,000 more instances than were recorded during the same period last year, according to statistics from the National Malaria Center.

From January through August, there were 50,698 reported cases of malaria—18,060 of which were re­ported in July and August alone—resulting in 181 deaths. During the same eight-month period last year there were 32,158 reported cases and 114 deaths, according to Nong Saokry, deputy chief of the National Malaria Center.

In all of 2008 there were 58,887 reported cases with 209 deaths.

Mr Saokry said that an in­crease in internal migration has contri­buted to the rise in malaria cases, with villagers increasingly moving from malaria-free zones to forested areas where the mosquitoes that transmit the disease dwell.

“We have groups who work in the villages and we advise people about how to protect themselves from malaria via TV and radio,” he said. “We want to inform those who move to work in areas where mala­ria exists to always sleep under a chemical [mosquito] net.”

In Preah Vihear province, 3,631 people have been infected by the disease since January, up from 2,825 during the same period last year, said Meas Sam On, chief of the provincial malaria program. Four people have died, he added.

“Most people here go into the forests and don’t use the mosquito nets,” Mr Sam On said.

Using volunteers, the province is educating villagers to use nets and to go to public hospitals if they get a fever, he added.

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