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Health officials in Thailand are warning the public about Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, a strain that can can be transmitted from monkeys to humans.


The Disease Control Department said people raising monkeys or living on the fringes of forests of an increased risk of contracting Plasmodium knowlesi malaria, the most common cause of human malaria in the region.

On Monday, Dr. Opas Karn Kawinpong The Director-General of the Department of Disease Control said the Anopheles mosquito bites infected monkeys and then bites people. Currently, there are no clear studies that show mosquitoes can carry the infection from person to person. The monkeys known as reservoir hosts in Thailand include crab-eating macaques, pig-tailed macaques, stump-tailed macaques, Rhesus macaques, and Assamese macaques.

The first reported cases of this malaria in Thailand were found in 2004 and around 10 cases per year have been found throughout the year. However, in the first half of fiscal year 2022 from October 1, 2021 – March 31, 2022, there have been 70 cases of malaria from this type of infection.

The top 3 places with the highest cases were Ranong, Songkhla and Trat provinces in southern and eastern Thailand.

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Symptoms of “monkey” malaria include high fever, shivering and excessive sweating. Dr Opas advises to seek immediate medical attention for malaria testing and to report any visits to the jungle or close contact with macaques.

Dr. Apichart Wachiraphan, Deputy Director-General, Department of Disease Control added that The Communicable Disease Division, led by the Department of Disease Control, has implemented strong surveillance, prevention and control measures for malaria. Using technology to report patients through the online malaria system in surveillance, closely monitor the situation with an alert every week and when each patient was found measures 1-3-7 were implemented, namely reporting a case within 1 day, monitoring the illness within 3 days, and implementing effective control of malaria transmission within 7 days, as well as having adequate medication.