Worldwide Malaria Deaths Severely Underestimated

Deaths from malaria, a mosquito-borne infectious disease, may be severely underestimated worldwide, according to a study published in the Lancet, a British medical journal. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated 655,000 malaria deaths worldwide for 2010, but the Lancet study suggests that 1.24 million people may have actually died from the disease in 2010.

Funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation, the research built a “historical database for malaria between 1980 and 2010,” which showed the rise and fall of malaria deaths over the years (BBC). Variable influencing the data included increased populations at risk for the disease and concentrated efforts and aid from abroad to help control the spread of malaria in Africa.

The Global Fund to Fight Aids, Malaria, and Tuberculosis is one organization committed to fighting infectious diseases in developing countries. Efforts to combat malaria mostly center around the distribution of bed nets, which protect people from being bitten by infected mosquitoes while they sleep.

Richard Horton, editor of the Lancet, said that “since 2004, the number of malaria deaths has dropped by a third, and that’s really been the time when the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria has swung into action.”

The bottom line is that the WHO has been overly optimistic in its estimates of deaths from malaria worldwide. While attempts to control the spread of malaria have been somewhat successful, eradication of the disease is not possible for the foreseeable future in many countries.

You can help fight malaria in Africa by supporting organizations like the Global Fund and the Nothing But Nets Campaign. All of the 1.24 million malaria deaths in 2010 could have been prevented– let’s help bring those numbers down!

Related Stories:

Low Tech Bed Nets Aim High in the Fight Against Malaria

Fighting the Good Fight Against AIDS, TB, and Malaria (VIDEO)

Gates Gives $750 Million To Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria (VIDEO)

Photo from wild_turkey5300 via flickr


Joan Mcallister
6 years ago

A vey interesting and at the same time sad article, I must admit I was ignorant of the fact that there were so many Malaria related deaths in the world be it 655,000 or 1.24 million, one is one too many.

Tim Cheung
Tim C6 years ago


Kenny West
Kenny Wes6 years ago

Yeah, lets eradicate all the reasons people die in the world, then we'll better off.

Debbie L.
Debbie Lim6 years ago

This is worrisome. Thanks for the article.

Gabriella Bertelmann
G Bertelmann6 years ago

Yes, malaria causes severe sickness and death and must be prevented.

Andrea A.
Andrea A6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Zana Zatanique
Jan Alexanian6 years ago

Nets are not a least not the ones that are coated with repellants. DDT is linked to a host of birth defects as well as cancer causing chemicals.

Malaria is a very real problem. DDT wasn't the only way that malaria was wiped out in the US. Having the infrastructure to drain the swampy areas in urban settings or install systems that create water movement in addition to chemicals are what made the difference. But most of North America is too temperately cold to sustain malaria.

Hartson Doak
Hartson Doak6 years ago

If the US did not build just ONE nuclear submarine, there would be enough money to eradicate illiteracy in the world. Don't build two and then we can wipe out malaria, Dengue fever, West Nile, Equestrian encephalitis, yellow fever and the other diseases spread my mosquitoes.

Rosie Lopez
Rosie Lopez6 years ago


Shelby Hooyenga

Wow. Sad :(