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Dublin: 16 °C Thursday 30 October, 2014

Over half of Africa remains at “moderate to high” risk of malaria

However, seven countries – Cape Verde, Eritrea, South Africa, Ethiopa, Swaziland, Djibouti and Mayotte- have low enough transmission rates to make elimination a feasible goal.

Image: A mosquito via Shutterstock

DESPITE ADVANCEMENTS IN fighting the disease, a significant portion of Africans are still at a high risk of contracting malaria.

A new report published in The Lancet shows that 57 per cent of Africans live in areas where the risk of contracting the potentially fatal disease is either moderate or high.

However, the findings also show that substantial reductions in malaria transmission have been achieved across most of the malaria-endemic countries of Africa between 2000 and 2010, with more than a quarter of the population (around 218 million people) now living in areas with a much lower risk of infection.

Researchers from the Kenya Medical Research Institute, University of Oxford, and WHO Regional Office for Africa complied data from the largest ever collection of 26,746 community-based surveys of parasite prevalence.

These surveys covered over 3.5 million cases from 44 malaria-endemic countries and territories in Africa since 1980.

They found reductions in the prevalence of malaria infection in children in 40 of 44 countries in Africa between 2000 and 2010.

Nevertheless, says Professor Robert Snow from the Kenya Medical Research Institute-Wellcome Trust Research Programme, 57% of people in Africa still live in areas of moderate-to-high transmission intensity.

“Almost all (87%) of those in the two highest endemicity classes are living in just 10 countries. Of these, three (Guinea, Mali, and Togo) are not part of the 10 countries that are the focus of the WHO Malaria Situation Room.”

The report finds that seven countries – Cape Verde, Eritrea, South Africa, Ethiopa, Swaziland, Djibouti and Mayotte- have low enough transmission rates to make elimination a feasible goal.

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