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Mystery illness confirmed as Malaria

A technical officer from WHO in Islamabad confirmed to IRIN on Friday that 15 people had died in Afghanistan’s remote central highlands from what has been identified as a deadly form of malaria. The disease was confirmed after medical teams conducted several tests and slides in Pakistan. However, the officer said the situation was under control and there had not been any additional fatalities since September. As part of its efforts, WHO has posted a medical surveillance team in the area and will continue to monitor the situation. According to the officer: “The main problem is the area is quite isolated and there are no health facilities in the whole valley.” He added: “We do not expect any further transmission of the disease as the weather gets colder.” AFP reported on Thursday that Dayem Bamiyan, a senior WHO official, said the disease which had broken out in six villages of Yakawlang district in Bamiyan was the fatal plasmodium falciform malaria. “This type of malaria, which is also called cerebral malaria, is very deadly,” adding: “The epidemic has been controlled as there had been no reports of further fatalities,” the report said.

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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