Malaria kills girl in Italy 40 years after Italy was declared malaria free

A 4-year-old girl in northern region of Italy succumbed to cerebral malaria on Sunday, raising fears that the deadly disease has returned to an area that has been free of it for decades. Sofia Zago, of Brescia, was admitted to the hospital on Saturday with a high fever, and her case has puzzled doctors owing to its bizarre nature.

Zago had never left Italy, a country which was declared malaria-free in the 1970s after marshes that served as homes for disease-carrying mosquitoes were drained. Health officials are currently investigating several different theories to understand how she was infected.

While the girl had never left the country, she had recently visited Bibione, an Adriatic resort near Venice. The Anopheles mosquito, whose female carries the disease, are capable of surviving short trips on planes. The girl was also recently hospitalised, because of diabetes. There is a possibility that she could have been exposed to a pair of girls who had contracted malaria in Africa and were recuperating in a separate room.

While it is unclear how the girl contracted the disease, Luigi Gradoni, an infectious disease researcher at the state health institute, said residents shouldn’t worry because malaria isn’t contagious and can’t be transmitted from person to person.

Sources: NPR, Metro

Dengue hits Pune city fringes

Dengue virus is on the prowl on the city fringes. Almost 60% of dengue cases reported this year have been detected among residents living in areas falling under the city’s four ward offices.

A total 147 out of the 248 patients, who tested positive for dengue, are from Dhankawadi Sahakarnagar, Hadapsar Mundhwa, Ahmednagar Road-Vadgaonsheri and Bhavani Peth ward office areas.

The latest report of the Pune Municipal Corporation’s insect control department reveals that the mosquito-borne disease has covered all the 15 ward offices in Pune city. But compared to the fringe areas, city’s core areas falling in Kothrud, Karvenagar -Warje, Tilak road-Sinhagad road and Aundh-Baner ward office areas have reported lesser number of dengue cases.

The objective of mapping of dengue cases is to intensify surveillance and containment of activities in the identified high risk areas so that the situation does not spiral out of control. The report takes into account only confirmed cases of dengue tested at government designated sentinel centres.

“We have already intensified measures to contain the spread of dengue in the identified areas. The multi-pronged approach will help rein in cases in the next few days,”  Vaishali Jadhav , assistant medical officer of health (AMoH), PMC told TOI.

TOI quoted Kalpana Baliwant, head of the insect control department, PMC saying, “We have pressed into service three high capacity vehicle mounted fogging machines in these areas. The highly concentrated fogging that covers around half a kilometre area will kill the infected adult mosquitoes and help contain the disease. Besides, the civic health department has roped in additional 300 contractual health workers, increasing the existing strength to 600 workers. These workers have been deployed mainly for house to house surveys for destroying mosquito larvae”

Source: The Times of India