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From Africa News


Malaria Explosion Blamed on Global Weather Change

DATELINE: August 26, 1999

BYLINE: Paul Redfern, The Nation (Nairobi)

Nairobi - The World Health Organisation says that the recent outbreak of malaria across western Kenya, which has killed more than 300 people in one district alone, is symptomatic of the move of the mosquito into parts of Africa where it was rarely known before.

WHO believes that global climatic change and deteriorating sanitation have made the environment more mosquito-friendly.

The spread of the disease could add to the already large number of African people, estimated at 480 million, who already suffer from it every year. As many as one million Africans die of malaria every year making it the continent's biggest killer.

The centre of the epidemic in Kenya at Kisii has seen 12,000 patients treated as outpatients and 5,000 inpatients admitted, with the Guardian reporting that in the women's ward at present, 113 patients are sharing only 23 beds.

Dr. Wycliffe Mogoa, medical superintendent at Kisii district hospital, said that "we have already had malaria here but nothing like the number of cases we are seeing at the moment. In May we noticed a ten-fold increase in the number of people we treated last year."

Previous malarial outbreaks tended to be restricted to low-lying areas with Kisii at 1,800 metres felt to be too high for an outbreak such as is being witnessed in Kenya at present.

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