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Malaria crisis in Penang after influx of migrant workers

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The Penang Health Department reminds residents to monitor their symptoms and get screened for malaria as soon as they experience signs of the illness. – Wikipedia pic, August 11, 2022.

PENANG is experiencing an urban malaria crisis following the influx of foreign nationals into the state’s various economic sectors with the health status of these workers being unknown.

State Health Director Dr Ma’arof Sudin said employers in the private sector having foreign workers should thus provide information on their workers from endemic malaria countries to the nearest district health office for record purposes.

“In fact, all foreign workers should undergo medical examinations, including screening for malaria based on the policy set by the government for the foreign workers in Malaysia. 

“Residents who live in or have a travel history to malaria high-risk areas or to malaria endemic countries should seek immediate treatment at the nearest clinic or hospital if they have symptoms like fever, chills, sweating and body weakness.

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“Among malaria endemic countries are Indonesia, the Philippines, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nigeria and Congo,” he said in his speech at the state-level World Malaria Day commemoration at the Setia Experience Centre, Bandar Setia Fontaines in Kepala Batas today. 

Dr Ma’arof said the Health Department is always taking precautionary measures, actively detecting cases, surveying examination and control activities, and spreading education among members of the community, civil society groups and the private sector to prevent and control malaria infections from endemic countries. 

“In Malaysia, up to the 30th epidemiology week, 2022, the reported number of cumulative malaria cases was at 1,611, with 90.3% of them being zoonotic malaria infections caused by the Plasmodium knowlesi parasite spread to humans through host animals such as macaques.

“The other 9.7% were human malaria infection cases with 96% of these being import cases detected in Malaysia,” he added. – Bernama, August 11, 2022.


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