Unusual malaria outbreak at Mile 13 in Sarawak, Malaysia

There are reports of an outbreak of malaria caused by a strain of malaria that is usually found only in monkeys (monkey malaria). This strain is called Plasmodium knowlesi, and so far there have been 97 human infections with this strain this year at the Mile 13 area.

This type of malaria can occur in Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Viet Nam. Humans become infected when they are in areas with natural monkey hosts and mosquitoes, for example, staying in rain forests and/or their fringe areas in south-east Asia.

As with any other malaria, travellers can reduce their risk of exposure by taking all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Anti-malaria medication is recommended. This strain of malaria is highly sensitive to artemisinins, variably and moderately sensitive to chloroquine, and less sensitive to mefloquine.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Malaria.

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