Children, adolescents 'most vulnerable to malaria'

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Washington, Oct 1 (ANI): Children as young as five and teenagers are at an increased risk of developing life-threatening malaria, says a new study.

Lead researcher Abdisalan M Noor, from the Kenyan Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme and the University of Oxford, said as an unintended consequence of attempting to achieve the targets of the Abuja declaration and Millennium Development Goals, children and adolescents over five are being put at risk.

"5-19 years olds are a particularly important group for two reasons", said Noor.

"Firstly, they represent a large fraction of the population in most developing African communities.

"Secondly, while they may have developed a functional immune response against clinical disease before their fifth birthday, they will not have developed an immunity to the Malaria parasite and continue to contribute transmission in the community," Noor added.

The researchers said that an estimated 80pct of human-mosquito transmission comes from over-fives, with young adolescents and older children the peak age group.

Noor concludes, "Where school attendance is high, the delivery of nets through schools should be considered an approach to reach universal coverage and improve the likelihood of impacting upon parasite transmission".

The research is published in the open access journal BMC Public Health. (ANI)

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