Over 62 killed as malaria epidemics hit Indian states

Other News Materials 23 August 2008 13:53 (UTC +04:00)

More than 62 people died and thousands were affected as malaria epidemics broke out after heavy monsoon rains in India's central and northern regions, media reports said Saturday.

Health officials told the NDTV television that more than 50 people died of malaria over the past three weeks in the Shivpuri district of central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, dpa reported.

The victims included 16 children, the report said.

"There is not a single home in the region where someone is not suffering from malaria," a villager in Shivpuri told the news channel.

State-run hospitals in Shivpuri city, 250 kilometres north of state capital Bhopal, were stretched to the limit.

The infections were tracked to the mosquito-borne parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

Of the four existing malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum is by far the most dangerous, particularly to the undernourished, weak or very young.

"It's close to an epidemic and the highest cases are of the malaria falciparum," N Srivastava, a senior district official said.

The PTI news agency reported that 12 people died and thousands were affected in a malaria outbreak in the northern Uttar Pradesh state.

State administration official A N Upadhyaya said 1,800 people from 131 villages in the Kanpur district were suffering from the disease which was spreading to other areas.

"The main reason for spreading of malaria is water-logging after heavy rains, due to which mosquitoes are breeding in abundance," Upadhyaya said.

Malaria outbreaks are common in various parts of India during the monsoon season between June and September, in particular in Eastern Orissa, West Bengal and Assam.

About 1 million people all over the world die each year of the disease.