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Malaria Developing Worrisome Resistance

Cambodia’s western provinces have been developing a resistance to the only anti-malaria medication the government uses, a worried health official said Monday.

“I’m worried so much about malaria,” said Duong Socheat, director of the National Malaria Center. “Artemisinin is the No. 1 drug. Its ability is decreasing.”

The National Malaria Center had taken measures to cure malaria outbreaks, including the examination of malaria resistant to the drug. The center also provides education to villagers to use the drug properly and urges people to sleep under mosquito nets.

Cambodia began using the drug in 2000. Now it is used “100 percent” in state hospitals. Resistance to the drug began showing up around 2005, Duong Socheat said.

This year, the government used 3.6 million tablets of the drug, he said. Some of the medication was provided by the Chinese government, he said.

About 70 people nationwide have died from malaria so far this year, he said.

“If malaria becomes resistant to artemisinin,” he said, “gradually, more patients of malaria will die.”