Malaria just a memory for city residents

Shanghai can claim it has eliminated malaria after passing an assessment by experts from the national health and family planning commission.

Shanghai said that it had eliminated malaria after the state health and family planning commission confirmed the city had passed its assessment.

The local disease prevention and control center said yesterday that Shanghai is the first provincial-level area in China to reach the standards required — with no infections from local sources in three years.

By 2015, the city had six years with no such cases and considered it had met the standards after a comprehensive self-assessment.

Last year, experts sent by the National Health and Family Planning Commission confirmed city’s own assessment.

Shanghai has a history of fighting the disease starting in the middle of last century, when malaria was spreading widely in the city. Some 3,000 of every 100,000 citizens suffered malaria at the time and the high rate drove local health and disease prevention authorities to take measures, along with research by local scientists.

Teams killing mosquitoes and flies were organized while screen doors and windows were installed in local households. Migrants to Shanghai were required to be checked for malaria and local citizens were also monitored.

By the mid-1980s, the rate had dropped to below 10 per 100,000, fitting the standards of “almost eliminated.” With further efforts, the rate continued to drop to 1 per 100,000.

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.

In 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, a rise of 5 million cases over 2015, according to World Health Organization.

Officials from the Shanghai Center for Disease Control and Prevention said terminating the spread of malaria locally means Shanghai has a good and profound disease prevention and control system.

“Terminating malaria needs not only an effective mosquito control network but also a quick patient detection, separation and treatment system, which has been well established in the local health system,” said Xia Wen from Shanghai CDC. “Monitoring of migrant people and those from infected regions is also important.”

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