Thailand's health service has issued a malaria warning, which is caused

Thailand’s health service has issued a malaria warning, which is caused by monkeys

The warning is to avoid forests in southern and eastern Thailand after discovery of monkey populations suffering from malaria. The warning from Thailand’s health service comes after the number of human infections has increased tenfold, with contact with primates being the main cause.

Between October last year and the end of March, a total of 70 cases of Plasmodium knowlesi malaria were reported, compared to just 10 cases in the entire year before.

Doctor Opart Karnkawinpong, of the Department of Disease Control, said health experts have yet to determine whether the deadly parasite, which causes fever, chills and loss of appetite, among other things, can be passed from person to person.

Known vectors are crab-eating macaques, pig-tailed macaques, stump-tailed macaques, rhesus macaques and Assam macaques.

Those experiencing symptoms previously exposed to the monkeys in southern Ranong and Songkhla provinces and eastern Trat province have been advised to seek immediate medical attention.

Those at risk, including tourists, workers and forest residents, have also been urged to protect themselves from mosquito bites by wearing tight clothing, applying mosquito spray and sleeping under one mosquito net.

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