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Importance of the project

Importance and significance of the project titled “ The eco-epidemiology of forest and zoonotic malaria“

Recently, infection with monkey malaria parasites in humans have been reported from various southeast Asian countries, including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. Six deaths from monkey malaria have been documented. Several travelers to these countries have also been diagnosed with monkey malaria after returning to their home countries. Malaria control has only been conducted against human malaria. Alternative strategies or control measures are necessary against the monkey malaria as well. Currently we do not know how monkey malaria parasites have obtained infectivity to humans and how they are transmitted between monkeys and humans. We are conducting this project in an attempt to clarify the mechanisms by which monkey malaria parasites infect humans in the Khanh Phu area of Vietnam. The program team consists of researchers from different disciplinary backgrounds. We also intend to prepare a platform for controlling malaria in this area.

Many Japanese tourists visit southeast Asian countries annually. Therefore efforts to decrease infectious diseases in the region should be important priority for Japan. Japan is expected to take an initiative in contributing to such international problems.

Expected academic results

  1. In the area where monkey malarias are transmitted, the following will be clarified.
    1. Changes of vegetation and location of surface water.
    2. Species distribution, ecology and behavior of wild monkeys.
    3. Distribution and behavior of the vector transmitting monkey malaria.
    4. Behavior and prevalence of malaria among people.
    5. Immune status of hosts
  2. Through compilation of the above results, we can understand the transmission pathway of monkey malaria parasites to humans and the environmental and human related factors leading to infection with monkey malaria. We can prepare basic measures against monkey malaria.

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