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Keeping kids in the safety net: malaria in older children

2 March 2014

Malaria is one of the toughest and deadliest diseases of all time. This potentially deadly, but preventable mosquito-borne parasitic disease caused an estimated 627,000 deaths worldwide in 2012, with approximately 77% occurring in children under the age of five. However, the actual number of deaths due to malaria may be even higher; a study by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation shows nearly double the amount of malaria mortalities, especially in children aged 5-14 and adults.

Researchers at this institute attribute the missed malaria mortalities to the assumption that it is mainly under-fives who are killed by malaria. Because a malaria vaccine has not (yet) been realized, insecticide treated nets remain one of the most cost-effective and efficacious interventions in our armamentarium against malaria infections. These nets reduce malaria transmission by up to 70-90%. In recent decades, children under the age of five and pregnant women have been the focal point of malaria control campaigns due to their vulnerability to contracting malaria. This is why they are often the main recipients of mosquito nets. But it remains unclear what impact this has had on children aged 5-14 who were not the focus of malaria prevention campaigns but remain vulnerable to contracting the disease. []

By Marianne Eelens

Read the full article here: DEMOTRENDS, March 2, 2014.

Source: DEMOTRENDS - Blog on demographic trends, research and resources

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