Global Malaria Cases Surge to 249 Million, Exceed Pre-Pandemic Levels
A recent report from the World Health Organization (WHO) reveals a concerning global spike in malaria cases, reaching 249 million, surpassing pre-coronavirus pandemic levels.
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A recent World Health Organization (WHO) report reveals a worrisome surge in global malaria cases, reaching 249 million, exceeding levels observed before the COVID-19 pandemic. The report emphasizes escalating threats to the global response, citing challenges such as drug and insecticide resistance, humanitarian crises, resource constraints, climate change impacts, and program implementation delays in high-burden countries.
Examining the intersection of climate change and malaria, the report underscores the influence of temperature, humidity, and rainfall on the behavior and survival of Anopheles mosquitoes, the malaria transmitters. Extreme weather events like heat waves and floods are identified as direct contributors to transmission and disease burden.
Highlighting a specific instance, the report links catastrophic flooding in Pakistan in 2022 to a "fivefold increase" in malaria cases. WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus stresses the substantial risk posed by the changing climate, particularly in vulnerable regions, calling for sustainable and resilient malaria responses alongside urgent actions to mitigate global warming.
While acknowledging limited understanding of the long-term effects of climate change on malaria transmission, the report anticipates variations across social and ecological contexts. In 2022, there were 5 million more malaria cases worldwide, with significant increases in Pakistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, and Uganda.
Despite leveling off in high-burden countries, the report notes that the 11 nations with the highest malaria burden reported an estimated 167 million cases and 426,000 deaths in 2022. With current trends deviating substantially from the WHO global malaria strategy's critical 2025 milestones, the report issues a warning about the urgent need for corrective measures.
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