May 08, 2008 08:22
Health authorities are stepping up efforts to fight malaria, which has shown signs of resurgence since 2005.
According to the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Wednesday, malaria was eradicated in the country in the late 1970s but resurged in Paju, Gyeonggi Province in 1993, when an active-duty soldier was infected after being bitten by a malaria mosquito which had come from North Korea.
Malaria has since returned to stay, affecting 4,142 people in 2000 alone. Health authorities designated areas near the Demilitarized Zone as malaria-risk areas, and began a powerful malaria eradication program in the country and an aid program for the North to help it exterminate the disease. As a result, the number of cases fell from 2,488 in 2001 to 826 in 2004. But the number increased again to 1,324 in 2005 and 2,192 in 2007.
The KCDC said malaria has not broken out on a nationwide scale yet.
"Most of the outbreaks have been concentrated in areas near the DMZ, including Ganghwa in Incheon, and northern parts of Gyeonggi and Gangwon provinces, which have been affected by malaria mosquitoes from North Korea."
In efforts to eradicate malaria, the KCDC will hold a malaria eradication conference at the public health clinic in Ganghwa County, Incheon -- a high-risk malaria area -- on Thursday, with the attendance of officials from the Incheon city and Ganghwa county governments, and civilian advisors.
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