New Malaria Poses Human Threat

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1250 But if not properly diagnosed, it can be as deadly as dreaded malarial parasites like P. falciparum. Since P. knowlesi has the ability to reproduce every 24 hours in the blood, urgent medical treatment is needed in cases of infection, failing to which it can turn deadly. The research, headed by Professor Balbir Singh of University Malaysia Sarawak, involved testing over 150 patients with malaria infection admitted to hospital in Sarawak between July 2006 and January 2008. Their study revealed that more than two-thirds of these infections were caused by P. knowlesi. Since the major symptom among patients infected with P. knowlesi was the low blood platelet count in them, doctors can take it as a lead to further diagnosis even in places where P. knowlesi is not yet detected to be the cause of malaria. Professor Balram suggests that while treating a patient who had visited a place where P. knowlesi is detected to be the cause of malarial infections among humans, clinicians should be “aware of the diagnosis, clinical manifestations, and rapid and potentially serious course of P. knowlesi malaria”. The study throws light on the future possibilities of having to deal with new kinds of deadly malaria.