Saturday, 15 June 2013

MALARIA: Imported malaria in Albania and the risk factors that could allow its reappearance

Abstract (provisional)

Malaria is an infectious disease gradually becoming a serious concern for public health institutions, even in European countries where the eradication of the disease was previously taken for granted. Albania was listed as an endemic area from the beginning of the 20th Century, but the disease was gradually under control and some decades after the World War II it was merely considered a historical curiosity. Nevertheless, for many reasons, since 1994 and in increasing trend, Albanian health facilities have registered several cases of malaria. Tracing the remnants of the autochthonous disease and finding links with the actual situation seems difficult, due to the relatively long period separating the proclaimed eradication of malaria with the re-appearance of the infection. Among major factors leading to such re-appearance might be massive migratory movements, and environmental changes such as the flooding of areas close to river deltas that flow into the Adriatic and Ionian Seas. These factors, combined with the constant presence of several Anopheles species, have led to newly-diagnosed imported malaria cases in Albania. Although all reported cases are considered imported, measures have to be put in place, in order to prevent reappearance of autochthonous malaria cases, and to control disease spread.

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