More men tested positive for malaria and dengue compared to women and children between 2009 and 2011, according to data released by a private chain of laboratories on Monday.
In 2011, 1,689 persons tested positive for malaria of which 61.63% comprised men. Women comprised 32.2% of the positive cases, while 6.17% were children, according to data shared by Metropolis Healthcare Limited.
A similar patter emerged for dengue, another mosquito borne disease, too. Of the 116 patients who tested positive for dengue at the laboratory, men comprised 46.55% while women and children accounted for 38.79% and 14.66% of the cases respectively. (See box for 2009 and 2010 figures)
Public health officials said that more men contracted malaria and dengue owing to increased exposure outside home. “Men are more mobile, especially in the evenings when mosquitoes that spread malaria and dengue are active. Most women stay indoors and are hence not as prone to getting infected,” said Dr Ramesh Chaturvedi, head of Preventive and Social Medicine department, Sion Hospital.
As per the figures shared by the laboratory, more than 50% of the people tested for malaria and dengue in Metropolis were men.
Doctors said that scientific literature indicates there is equal incidence of malaria and dengue between men and women. “There is no real difference in the number of men and women coming for treatment for malaria and dengue. My experience with patients supports this too,” said Dr Pratit Samdani, consultant physician, Jaslok Hospital, Peddar Road.
In 2010, a preliminary study done by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) indicated that men were more prone than women to get infected with malaria because of the hormonal differences and the way immune cells react to the parasite.
Metropolis’ data also indicates that more people in the age group of 15-30 years tested positive for malaria and dengue. In 2011, nearly 40% of those in the 15-30 years age group tested positive for malaria, while 62.92% of them tested positive for dengue.