Monday, May 26, 2008

Malaria moves in behind the loggers | World news | The Guardian

Malaria moves in behind the loggers | World news | The Guardian:
Deforestation and climate change are returning the mosquito-borne disease to parts of Peru after 40 years

The afternoon is hot and sticky on the banks of the Napo river, an arm of the Amazon, but Claudio, a logger, is shivering in his creaky wooden bed.

'I feel bad, very bad, pain all over my body, fever, high fever, shudders,' he says. 'I have malaria; this is the 17th time so far. I don't know what to do any more.'"

The mosquito-borne illness has returned to the many villages only accessible by boat in the Peruvian Amazon, inflicting on the inhabitants days of fever, permanent anaemia and - in the worst cases - death.

In Peru, malaria was almost eradicated 40 years ago, but this year 64,000 cases have been registered in the country, half in the Amazon region. It is thought there are many more unregistered cases deep within the massive and humid rainforest, where health authorities find it almost impossible to gain access.

"Malaria is present. There have been 32,000 cases this year in this area alone - that says malaria is very much present," said Hugo Rodríguez, a doctor at the Andean Health Organisation, which is fighting malaria in border areas of Peru, Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.