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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Malaria cases up with early rainy season

Malaria cases up with early rainy season

Officials say slow distribution of nets another reason for spike.

103
Deaths from malaria in first half of 2009
According to National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, 27,105 people were infected with the disease in the first six months of the year.

AN EARLY rainy season and delays in the distribution of mosquito nets are to blame for an increase in the number of Cambodians infected with malaria, a top official at the government's malaria centre said Tuesday.

Duong Socheat, director of the National Centre for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control, said that in the first six months of this year, 27,105 people caught the disease, of whom 103 died. In comparison, 25,033 were infected during the same period last year, of whom 65 died.

"This year we had an early rainy season and we were a bit late in distributing mosquito nets to people," he said, adding that another possibility for the jump was that more people were moving to different provinces for work, and that those coming from areas where there was a low infection rate were not used to guarding themselves against the disease.

Hing Phan Sakunthea, director of the Ratanakkiri provincial referral hospital, said that for the first six months of the year, 295 people had been diagnosed with the infection at his hospital, an increase of around 20 percent from the same period last year. He said 11 of those died.

Duong Socheat said his centre distributed 400,000 bed nets to officials this year, but that only about 200,000 had reached people on the ground.

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