New Delhi: India, along with 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa, contributes to about 80% of the global burden of malaria, according to the World Malaria Report, 2018, released by the World Health Organization (WHO) on Monday.
India is endemic to malaria and carries the burden of two major malaria parasites, Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. P vivax is a milder form of malaria, while falciparum is a deadly form of the disease.
The report is in tune with the recent findings by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), which observed that there has been a gradual shift of the parasite burden from Plasmodium vivax to Plasmodium falciparum.
The WHO report has highlighted that about 82% of estimated vivax malaria cases in 2017 were reported from just five countries—India, Pakistan, Ethiopia, Afghanistan and Indonesia. However, Plasmodium falciparum is also significantly contributing to the disease burden. “In South-East Asia, malaria is endemic in nine out of 11 countries, accounting for nearly 70% of the burden outside the WHO African region. Nearly 62% of the cases are due to P. falciparum," WHO said. In the region, India and Indonesia accounted for 68% and 21% of reported cases, and 65% and 16% of malaria deaths, respectively.
WHO said five countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases: Nigeria (25%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Mozambique (5%), India (4%) and Uganda (4%).