Malaria Risk in Indonesia

Before studying in Indonesia, I used to have the impression that the mosquito (Anopheles gambiae) that transmits Malaria live in every single part of Indonesia. It did make me worried for some time until my senior clarified to me that the urban area of Java Island is free of Malaria. Despite of that, I got really tensed up to see my friends admitted into hospital because of Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever- another mosquito borne disease, but by a different species (Aedes Mosquito).

I really like the idea of some scientists to kill all the mosquito in the world, for the good of mankind. Make them extinct and get rid of all the problems (Malaria, Dengue Fever, Yellow Fever, Japanese Encephalitis, West Nile virus, filariasis and etc) once and for all. While the scientists are battling the mosquitos, we have to protect ourselves from the infectious bite.

GambarBeritaKoranJakarta20100826183700

(mosquito Anopheles that transmits Malaria)

I searched the internet and found out that WHO International Travel and Health Interactive Map offers some useful information about the distribution of Malaria infection.Malaria risk exists throughout the year in all areas of the five eastern provinces of (A) Maluku (B) North Maluku (C) Papua (D) West Papua and (E) East Nusa Tenggara. In the other parts of the country, there is malaria risk in some districts, except in Jakarta Municipality, big cities, and within the areas of the main tourist resorts.

malaria map copy

What a relieve for the tourists who wanna surf in the Bali beach, businessmen who wanna attend meeting in Jakarta and artists who wanna experience the culture in Jogjakarta. No extraordinary experience of having high fever and chilling in the middle of the night!

However, one of my DREAM vocation destination, Lombok Island, has high risk of malaria. Shall I risk my health for the beautiful beach? Hermm….hard decision… The Komodo Island that feature the Komodo Dragon is also rampant with Malaria. Sorry my big lizard, I can only see you in the Surabaya zoo, not in your hometown.

image

How to prevent Malaria? First is to avoid the sinful kiss from the mosquito. Wear mosquito repellent and shield your sleeping area with mosquito net. Second is to kill the parasite (Plasmodium) that transmitted with the kiss. There are many options: atovaquone-proguanil chemoprophylaxis, doxycycline or mefloquine. Consult your doctor or the local health officer for the resistance pattern.

The drug resistance of Plasmodium is another headache for the scientists and doctors.

P. falciparum resistant to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine has been reported. P. vivax resistant to chloroquine is also reported. I am not sure how fast can the pharmaceutical company produce new anti-malarial drug to cope with this resistance.

Perhaps a vaccine will put all this problem to an end. The richest guy on earth says that the vaccine may be ready in 3 years time. I really hope this would be a success. Thank you Bill Gates in advance!

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