The number of malaria cases in the United States has fallen sharply in recent years, but scientists are now seeing a return to cases in other parts of the world.
The World Health Organization said Wednesday that the number of cases in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia and the Caribbean had fallen sharply over the past year, and the number in Latin America and the Middle East has also dropped.
“We’ve seen the same pattern in the Americas, where we’re seeing the resurgence of the pandemic in the middle of a cold winter,” WHO spokeswoman Dr. Joanna Martin told reporters at a briefing.
Martin said the global response to the pandemics has been “slow,” but the global pandemic has “redefined our priorities in terms of the impact of climate change on the health of our populations.”
The WHO said the number and frequency of malaria deaths worldwide have declined since 2007, and there are now fewer cases of the disease in the world than ever before.
But Martin said it’s still possible for the number to rise, and said the international community is working on a plan to fight malaria in Africa.
“There is a plan, we’re working on it, and we are looking at strategies to bring more people into the global community,” Martin said.
“We’re looking at new interventions to increase malaria access.”
Martin said the WHO has also begun a $200 million program to fund more malaria testing, and is also working to increase the amount of vaccines available.
The WHO said its new plan would be tested in a new pilot program in the U.S. and a larger trial in the Netherlands.
The CDC said that the most common reason for malaria deaths in the country where the new study was conducted was “fungal infection” and that a lack of vaccinations was the leading reason for deaths in many countries.
Martin said infections have increased dramatically in Africa, with infections in the African continent having doubled in the last decade.
Martin told reporters that the malaria vaccine has helped save millions of lives in Africa and has also helped fight the disease.
“In the United Kingdom, for example, we have more than one million people who have received a new vaccine since 2015, and that’s about one in four people that are now getting the vaccine,” Martin told CNN.
“So this is not just about a vaccine, it’s about the vaccine that protects us, and I think the vaccine is going to continue to be a major player in this global fight against malaria.”
The United States and other developed countries have been using the vaccine to reduce the number, frequency and severity of malaria infections.
But the United Nations says that the vaccine has only reduced the number one reason people die from malaria by about half.
Martin also said the new report highlights the importance of malaria control measures.
She said the report also showed that the “mortality and morbidity rates” of malaria patients have dropped significantly since the introduction of the vaccine in the early 1990s.
“This is the first year that we’ve seen any significant improvement in those mortality and morbidities rates,” Martin added.
The WHO’s new report said the malaria reduction in the West is also a major reason why people are choosing to get vaccinated.
“In some areas, the vaccination rates are lower than in others,” the WHO said.
The report also found that in many developing countries, the vaccine was “only marginally effective” at reducing the rate of malaria infection and deaths.