Health: Deaths from Malaria Spike

The Story:

In tropical regions malaria has never ceased to be a threat. In 2019 alone the mosquito-borne disease killed 400,000 people globally, most of those on the continent of Africa. But fatalities from malaria have spiked in recent months. The World Health Organization has warned that when the final number is in for 2020 it could be as high as 500,000.

Significance:

The spike is a consequence of the global Covid pandemic, which has disrupted and over-taxed the public health services that otherwise might have kept a leash on the malaria incidence and death numbers.

The resurgence of malaria is worsened by the fact that the microbe that causes the disease, plasmodium, is continually developing strains that are resistant to the most common medications. For example, plasmodium falciparum is resistant to chloroquine, and in some parts of southeast Asia new strains are showing resistance to artemisinin as well. The arms race between researchers and virus strains will surely continue.

In Pill Form:

Peter Sands, a doctor and activist who presented the latest World Health Organization report at a recent meeting said: “The global health world, the media, and politics are all transfixed by Covid-19” and so pay too little attention to other threats.

 

 

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