The Burden of Malaria in AfricaAbout 90% of all malaria deaths in the world today occur in Africa south of the Sahara. This is because majority of infections in Africa are caused by one of the most dangerous of the four human malaria parasites. It is also because the most effective malaria vector – the mosquito – is the most widespread in Africa and the most difficult to control. Young children and pregnant women are the population groups at highest risk for malaria illness and deaths. Most children experience their first malaria infections during the first two years of life, when they have not yet acquired adequate clinical immunity – which makes these early years particularly dangerous. Ninety percent of all malaria deaths in Africa occur in young children. Adult women have a high level of immunity, but this is impaired especially during pregnancy increasing the risk of infection.
Malaria imposes substantial costs to both individuals and governments. Costs to individuals and their families include purchase of drugs for treating malaria at home; expenses for travel to and from the dispensaries and clinics, treatment expenses; lost days of work; absence from school; expenses for preventive measures; expenses for burial in case of deaths. Costs to governments include maintenance, supply and staffing of health facilities; purchase of drugs and supplies; public health interventions against malaria, such as insecticide spraying or distribution of insecticide-treated bed nets; lost days of work with resulting loss of income; and lost opportunities for joint economic ventures and tourism.
“Young children and pregnant women are the population groups at highest risk for malaria illness and deaths.”
Current Approaches to Control MalariaVector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across communities. Vector control is highly dependent on the use of insecticides. Two forms of vector control exists; (i) insecticide-treated mosquito nets and (ii) indoor residual spraying. Antimalarial medicines can also be used to prevent malaria
Mosquito Resistance to Insecticides Insecticides are still the most important tool for controlling mosquitoes and reducing transmission of mosquito-borne human diseases. However, when mosquito populations are exposed to intensive selection pressure from insecticides, they tend to become resistant. Continuous use of synthetic insecticides leads to a development of resistance by the mosquitoes, biological exaggeration of toxic substances through the food chain and undesirable effects on environmental quality.
Researcher Clarence Maikuri Mange’ra, a PhD candidate
Naturally occurring plants and their offshoots are therefore of increasing interest for the development of new products against the malaria vector. Clarence Maikuri Mange’ra, a PhD candidate at Kenyatta University (pictured) is exploring the insecticidal properties of the curry tree (Murraya koenigii) (pictured) on anopheles mosquitoes. Curry tree is a tropical to sub-tropical tree which is native to India and Sri Lanka. Its leaves are used in many dishes in India and neighbouring countries
Often used in curries, the leaves are generally called by the name 'curry leaves,' although they are also literally 'sweet neem leaves' in most Indian languages (as opposed to ordinary neem leaves which are very bitter.
The Curry tree
In this innovative study, activity of essential oil and crude extracts isolated from the leaves of Curry tree against mosquito vectors are of interest. The repulsive activity of these essential oils and growth disrupting effects of crude extracts at small doses isolated from the leaves of Curry tree against mosquito are being investigated.
The team aims to develop an original anti-mosquito blend applicable in combined vector management of malaria vectors. The blend shall be incorporated to current approaches such as treated mosquito nets and Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS) to explore an integrated approach to managing the malaria vector.
The research team is work with local communities affected by mosquito borne diseases, who have been mobilized and actively involved in propagating the plant for its medicinal, culinary and vector control applications. Efficient locally accessible phytochemicals have the potential of significant reduction of the malaria vectors, and contributing to reduction and eventual elimination of malaria in Kenya and the region
Research led by:Mr. Clarence Maikuri Mange’raDepartment of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyKenyatta University
With the guidance of;Prof. Ahmed Hassanali Dr. Fathiya KhamisDepartment of Chemistry Department of Biochemistry and BiotechnologyKenyatta University Kenyatta University
Project financed by: Grand Challenges Canada -Stars in Global Health Program, Round 4
Title: Toxicity of Curry Tree Phytochemical(s) to Anopheles Gambiae Malaria Vector.
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