PNG Frequently Asked Questions
via Papua New Guinea

Please note -- Whilst all care has been taken in preparing and maintaining the FAQ's about Papua New Guinea it is not possible to be able verify every answer. The information is provided 'as is' and I can not accept responsibility for any loss, injury or inconvenience sustained by anyone resulting from the use of this information.

Please verify the information for yourself from a government source, travel agent or other similar organisation.

This database does not contain information about other countries. It is only about Papua New Guinea (PNG).

Medical - Malaria / Filariasis & Mosquitoes     List of Categories
NOTE - The use of brand names and any mention or listing of commercial products such as drugs or services in these FAQ's does not imply endorsements. It is recommended that you seek a medical opinion about any medical condition rather than from research on the Internet.

  • prophylactic drugs in filariasis

    Sorry this is not a medical web site.

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  • what are the specific laboratory test of malaria?

    Sorry that is far beyonf the scope of these FAQ's. Please consult an expert in the field.

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  • What is the most common disease in PNG?

    Malaria is the most common disease and the second leading cause of death in PNG hospitals. Pneumonia is the leading cause of death.

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  • What is malaria?

    Malaria is a sophisticated collaboration between a mosquito and a parasite. The malaria parasite infects and kills red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.

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  • Where is malaria found?

    Malaria is generally found at altitudes lower than 1,600 metres. The temperature above this altitude restricts mosquito and parasite growth. As a result of increased travel, malaria does occur in some of the highlands valleys.

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  • How is malaria spread?

    This is not a medical FAQ database so I can only give a general answer. Seek professional advice if this simple answer does not answer your question.
    Malaria is spread by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitos almost exclusively bite at dusk and during the night. Daytime mosquitoes are usually not carriers of malaria. Note: out of the 380 species of Anopheline mosquito, only 60 can transmit malaria.

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  • Who are the main beneficiaries of malaria control in PNG?

    The beneficiaries of malaria control will be the entire population of Papua New Guinea (5.4 million) who currently suffer under an enormous burden of disease due to year-round endemic transmission. With reduction of the malaria burden, quality of life will improve leading to direct economic benefits for poverty reduction.

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  • What is the goal of the Malaria program in PNG?

    The overall goal for the malaria program is to cut in half morbidity and mortality by year 2010 (as per National Health Plan 2001-2010) by implementing full coverage of insecticide-treated bed nets (80% of population at risk, village by village) in all endemic areas of Papua New Guinea, and strengthening of specific diagnosis to enable effective treatment of malaria.

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  • What diseases are borne by mosquitoes?

    Mosquitoes cause more human suffering than any other organism with over one million people dying from mosquito-borne diseases every year. Mosquito vectored diseases include protozoan diseases, i.e. malaria, filarial diseases such as dog heartworm and viruses such as dengue, encephalitis and yellow fever. In Asia more than 50,000 cases of Japanese encephalitis (JE) are reported annually.

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  • What is a mosquito?

    The mosquito is a common flying insect that is found around the world. There are about 2,700 species of mosquitoes. Mosquitoes can fly about 1 to 1.5 miles per hour (1.6-2.4 kph).

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  • How does a mosquito find its prey?

    Females drink blood and nectar; the males only sip plant nectar. When a female bites, she also injects an anticoagulant (anti-clotting chemical) into the prey to keep the victim's blood flowing. She finds her victims by sight and smell, and also by detecting their warmth.

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  • Why do mosquitoes love pregnant women?

    Pregnant women are especially vulnerable to malaria, an important cause of stillbirths, infant mortality and low birth weight. Researchers have demonstrated that pregnant women are twice as attractive to malaria carrying mosquitoes as non-pregnant women and have suggested this is due to a greater volume of exhaled air (21%) and a warmer (0.7 C) skin surface.

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  • What is the life cycle of the mosquito?

    The complete life-cycle of a mosquito takes about a month. After drinking blood, adult females lay 40 to 400 tiny white eggs in standing water or very slow-moving water. Within a week, the eggs hatch into larvae (sometimes called wrigglers) that breathe air through tubes which they poke above the surface of the water. Larvae eat bits of floating organic matter and each other. Larvae molt four times as they grow; after the fourth molt, they are pupae (sometimes called tumblers). Pupae also live near the surface of the water, breathing through a horn-like tube on their back. Pupae do not eat. An adult emerges from a pupa when the skin splits after a few days. The adult lives for only a few weeks.

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  • How can mosquitoes be controlled?

    The most effective way to control mosquitoes is to find and eliminate their breeding sites. Eliminating large breeding areas such as swamps or sluggishly moving streams or ditches may require community-wide effort. This is a task for an organised mosquito control program.

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  • What are the drugs used to treat malaria?

    Chloroquine, Fansidar, Artesunate / Artemether and Primaquine. These drugs are dangerous and should only be taken under medical supervision. No drug or combination of drugs is completely effective in all people.

    Please remember to consult a doctor not the internet for accurate information on the treatment of malaria.

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  • How is malaria diagnosed by a doctor?

    Not being a doctor I can not really be able to answer that. From my own experience a doctor from the tropics has a good chance of diagnosing malaria by asking a few questions and taking note of the answers etc. The doctor may take a sample of blood to confirm his diagnosis.
    If you think you have any medical symptom I recommend seeking the advice of a professionally trained person. Symptoms that appear to be one thing may in fact be something totally different.

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  • What is the antimalarial drug ARCO made up of?

    It is a combination of two existing malarial drugs - artemisnin and napthoquine.

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  • Is it recommeneded to use Artemether or Artesunate by itself?

    It is important that people understand that Artemether or Artesunate used alone may not cure the malaria infection.
    Thanks to Steven Bjorge for that update on Artemether and Artesunate.

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  • What is severe malaria?

    Severe malaria is very dangerous and may occur when malaria infection is not treated. Typical symptoms are unconsciousness and or convulsions (an indication of cerebral malaria, the patient may not be able to stand or walk, or looks very sick and pale. The patient may also vomit or have severe diarrhoea. Other illnesses may have the same symptoms so it is best to get the patient to a doctor or hospital as soon as possible.

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  • How can I protect myself against malaria?

    Prevention of being bitten by an infected mosquito is important but nor perfect. Added protection from malaria is possible by taking anti-malarial drugs. Taking drugs before becoming sick, to prevent disease from developing, is called prophylaxis. A prophylactic drug is supposed to prevent or suppress the disease even if bitten by an infected mosquito.

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  • How soon should I take prophylactic drugs?

    If taking mefloquine then you should start one week before entering the country and continue for two weeks after leaving the country. If taking chloroquine then continue the treatment for four weeks after leaving the country.

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  • What are the types of malaria found in PNG?

    There are four types of malaria found in the world that can affect humans but only three types are found in PNG

    1 - falciparum malaria

    2 - vivax malaria
    the third species of malaria found in PNG is called malariae malaria (P. malariae) - It is basically like vivax but without vivax's persistent liver stage.

    (Thanks to Dr John Mackerell for this item)

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  • Of the three types of malaria found in PNG which is the most dangerous?

    Falciparum malaria is the most serious.
    If not treated falciparum malaria may result in shock, kidney and liver failure, coma and death. Death is often due to clogging of the small blood vessels in vital organs by the malaria infected blood cells.

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  • What is the less life-threatening malaria found in PNG?

    Vivax malaria is generally not life threatening, but deaths may occur in young children, very old people and in people already weakened by another disease.

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  • Can you recommend any web sites where I can find information about malaria?

    There are many websites dealing with malaria.

    Try the American Mosquito Control Association
    Royal Perth Hospital, Australia
    Mosquito bites and diseases: should I be worried?
    As well Rotary against Malaria in PNG has a website where you can find more information -- it is located at --

    However, if you think you might have malaria then it is far better to consult a trained doctor than consult the Internet.

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  • What is the bacterium which causes MALARIA?

    Sorry this is not a medical web site.

    From my limited knowledge I beleive that Malaria is a sophisticated collaboration between a mosquito and a parasite. The malaria parasite infects and kills red blood cells, which carry oxygen from the lungs throughout the body.
    However it is highly recommended that you seek a medical opinion rather than from research on the Internet especialy this web site.

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  • What is the rate of prevelance of the diseases like Malaria, Dengue etc in PNG. What is the overall precautions one should take caare while staaying at PNG concerning the health.

    Sorry I am not in the medical research field. Try contacting the PNG Institute of Medical Research (IMR) for an answer. --

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  • Where can I find information about the effects of Malaria on preganant women in PNG?

    See -- -- research by by Tivo Mueller, Stephen Rogerson, John Reeder, PNG Institute of Medical Research, P.O. Box 60, Goroka, PNG and Department of Medicine, Royal Melbourne Hospital, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia

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  • who are the manufacturer of the drugs for anti-malaria?

    Does a reader know the answer to this question?

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  • What is filariasis?

    Filariasis is a group of tropical diseases caused by various thread-like parasitic roundworms and their larvae.

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  • Is filariasis fatal?

    Filariasis is rarely fatal but it is the second leading cause of permanent and long-term disability in the world.

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  • How is filariasis spread?

    This is not a medical FAQ database so I can only give a general answer. Seek professional advice if this simple answer does not answer your question. Filariasis is transmitted to humans through the bite of a mosquito. A single bite is usually not enough to spread the disease.

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  • How many people are affected by filariasis?

    I am unsure of the figures but Bancroftian filariasis affects approximately 120 million residents of tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

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  • Where is filariasis found?

    The disease affects about 170 million people in the tropical and sub-tropical areas of Southeast Asia, South America, Africa and the Pacific Islands.

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  • Where can I find out more information about filariasis?

    As a starting point please visit --

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  • Is there another name for filariasis?

    Most people are probably more familiar with this disease known by another name, elephantiasis.
    Elephantiasis is not "Elephant Man disease." For many years it was assumed that Joseph Merrick, known as the Elephant Man, suffered from neurofibromatosis, and for this reason neurofibromatosis is often called "Elephant Man disease". Neurofibromatosis is not caused by a parasite; it is a genetic disease. There is now speculation that Merrick actually suffered from a much rarer condition known as Proteus syndrome.

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  • What are the main types of filariasis that affect over 170 million people worldwide?

    Of the infections, 90% are caused by Wuchereria bancrofti, and 10% by Brugia malayi (limited to Asia and parts of the Pacific).

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Created 1 May 2002
Updated 21 Jun 2008

PNG FAQ's ©1998 - 2009 Trevor Michie