Malaria Can Cause Cancer in Children – WHO Warns

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Malaria Can Cause Cancer in Children - WHO Warns

The World Health Organization (WHO) published a report warning that malaria infections have been found to cause cancer in children.

In the report, WHO maintains that the real cause of cancer in children remains unknown, however, an increased number of childhood cancers have been linked to chronic infections according to research.

“For example, HIV, Epstein-Barr virus (which causes the infection famously known as ‘kissing disease’ because of how it is spread) and malaria increase the risk of some childhood cancers.

“Other infections can increase the child’s risk of developing cancer as an adult, so it is important to be vaccinated,” WHO reported.

Children admitted in a cancer ward engage in a playgroup session

Researchers from Rockefeller University observed that a malaria-causing parasite injected in mice developed an ability to destroy DNA strands in white blood cells.

The damaged cells then became abnormal triggering the beginning of cancer.

“This could explain why Burkitt’s lymphoma, a cancer of mature B cells, is common in areas where malaria is endemic,” the researchers observed.

WHO recommended the mandatory vaccination of children against malaria as one of the measures that will curb such infections.

Kenya is one of the countries in Africa where a malaria vaccine, RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S), is under the pilot phase of testing.

Others countries on the first of its kind vaccination drive are Ghana, Gabon, Burkina Faso, Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

Uhuru holds a baby during the launch of Ministry of Health’s Accelerated Immunization Outreach campaign on June 27, 2018

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