Number of malaria deaths significantly lower

Number of malaria deaths significantly lower / Health News

Number of malaria deaths decreased significantly


Even if hundreds of thousands of people worldwide die of malaria every year, the fight against tropical diseases is showing success. As the World Health Organization (WHO) reports, the number of deaths is steadily decreasing. However, the increase in resistance causes concern.

Deaths from malaria decreased significantly
The number of deaths from malaria has declined significantly worldwide. As the World Health Organization (WHO) announced in Geneva on Tuesday, in 2013 significantly fewer people died as a result of the mosquito-borne tropical disease than the year before. According to the current world malaria report, 584,000 people died of tropical diseases last year, 40,000 fewer than in 2012. The number of fatalities has been falling for years. Compared to the year 2000, the number of malaria deaths has almost halved (47 percent). On the occasion of the publication of the report, WHO Director-General Margaret Chan said: „We have the right tools, but we need to get them to more people to help them succeed.“ She emphasized: „We can win the fight against malaria.“ For that, however, the next few years are crucial.

Increased occurrence of resistance causes concern
However, the experts are worried about the increased occurrence of resistance. Especially in Asia, some of the parasites that cause malaria are no longer treatable by conventional means as they have become insensitive to the drugs. In addition, it was reported only last month that a dangerous malaria parasite, which previously attacked only monkeys, in Southeast Asian Malaysia also spread among humans. Another problem is that the continuing Ebola epidemic in West Africa is severely damaging the fight against malaria in the affected countries. At present, there is an attempt to counteract an increase in malaria deaths with mass medication.

Nine out of ten malaria deaths in Africa
Malaria is one of the deadliest infectious diseases worldwide and causes various, sometimes flu-like symptoms, such as high fever, severe headache, chills, stomach and intestinal complaints, nausea and vomiting, body aches and can damage the organs. In particularly severe cases, brain damage or anemia occur. Malaria tropica, the most dangerous of several forms, can kill infants within hours. Most of the people who are mortally ill are at home in African countries. But even if nine out of every ten deaths in Africa are registered, at the same time the greatest progress is being made in the fight against the parasite, which gets into the blood of the people via bites of the female Anopheles mosquito. In 2013, a total of 54 percent fewer people died of the disease in Africa than in 2000. And although 43 percent more people live on the continent today than in 2000, the number of people infected by 128 million people in 2013 is a quarter less than then.

Protect mosquito nets
Effective protection against malaria is to keep away mosquitoes. Thus, the fact that more people use mosquito nets for insect protection is also responsible for the positive development on the African continent. Last year, almost one in two Africans reported using an insecticide-treated mosquito net, while ten years earlier not even one in 33 Africans owned such a net. Scientists at the University of Durham in the United Kingdom have at the same time to the WHO report in the journal „The Lancet“ published a study showing that spraying the nets to protect African children from malaria is not essential and that it is sufficient if the children consistently slept under it. However, as colleagues write in a comment on this, further studies are needed in regions that are severely affected by malaria in order to conclusively prove that the spray has no additional effect. In addition to mosquito nets, drugs and rapid diagnostic tests are now available to more people in Africa, and this has also helped to reduce the disease. However, it was warned that more funds would be needed to ensure continued successful control. For example, more than 2.5 million US dollars were missing in the fight against malaria. (Ad)

Picture: Walter Eberl