Lancet says malaria deaths higher than previously thought

Baby sleeps under mosquito net. Photo credit: WHO

3 FEBRUARY 2012 | LONDON - New data released in an article by Chris Murray and associates in The Lancet say that malaria mortality worldwide could be almost double that of previous estimates—at around 1.24 million deaths in 2010. The data highlight how there could be many more deaths overall in young children, with implications for child survival programmes, and for older children and adults. Access article about the data and an Editorial by Lancet editor, Dr Richard Horton, which calls for urgent action to review these data and re-align priorities in malaria control.

Dr Richard Horton’s Editorial in The Lancet

This week we publish surprising and, on the face of it, disturbing findings. According to Christopher Murray and colleagues at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) at the University of Washington in Seattle, there were 1-24 million deaths (95% uncertainty interval 0•93—1•69 million) from malaria worldwide in 2010—around twice the figure of 655 000 estimated by WHO for the same year. How should the malaria community interpret this finding? Before we answer that question, we need to look beneath the surface of this striking overall mortality figure.

Global malaria mortality between 1980 and 2010: a systematic analysis

By Prof Christopher JL Murray, Lisa C Rosenfeld, Stephen S Lim, Kathryn G Andrews, Kyle J Foreman, Diana Haring, Nancy Fullman, Mohsen Naghavi, Prof Rafael Lozano, Prof Alan D Lopez

During the past decade, renewed global and national efforts to combat malaria have led to ambitious goals. We aimed to provide an accurate assessment of the levels and time trends in malaria mortality to aid assessment of progress towards these goals and the focusing of future efforts.