The Americas is the region of the world where malaria deaths increased the most in 2017, mainly due to the rapid increase in cases in Venezuela, according to the annual report on malaria of the World Health Organization (WHO) presented today in Maputo.
It is estimated that there were a total of 630 deaths from malaria in 2017 in what the WHO considers the Americas region, which includes Latin America, the Caribbean, the United States and Canada, with respect to the 460 deaths in 2016, and 480 deaths in 2010 .
The progressive advance in reducing the number of deaths in the region, where cases of malaria occur, especially in the Amazon region of South America, was altered from last year, in an upward trend that has exploded in 2017
However, America remains the second region in the world, only behind Europe, where there are fewer deaths due to malaria, according to the World Malaria Report 2018.
The WHO estimates that there were 773,500 confirmed cases of malaria in this region, representing an increase of 14% compared to 2010 and 72% over 2015.
53% of these cases occurred in Venezuela, followed by Brazil (22%), Colombia (8%) and Peru (7%).
Six American countries saw the number of cases decrease by more than 20% in 2017 with respect to the previous year: Colombia, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Suriname.
While in Belize, Brazil, Costa Rica, French Guiana, Nicaragua and Venezuela the cases increased more than 20%.
In fact, Venezuela accounted for 84% of this increase in the region and is among the 10 countries in the world where the total cases of malaria exceeded 300,000 in 2017.
Last April, WHO announced that Venezuela has the highest increase in malaria cases in the world.
Throughout the region there are 138 million people at risk of suffering from this disease, potentially deadly but preventable and curable, which is caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans by the bite of mosquitoes.
The WHO considers that the region "continues to make significant progress" and 11 of the 17 countries are on track to achieve a reduction of more than 40% of the incidence rate by 2020.
Paraguay won this year the malaria free country certificate, being the first country in America to receive this status from Cuba 45 years ago; and Argentina is in the process of achieving it, since it has not registered cases for 3 consecutive years.
According to the report, the global fight against malaria remains stagnant and, despite a slight improvement in the death rate, two million more people contracted the disease in 2017.
In 2017, a total of 219 million cases of malaria were counted – compared to 217 million a year ago – worldwide and some 435,000 people lost their lives, compared to the estimated 451,000 deaths in 2016.
The continent most punished with this increase is, once again, Africa, where ten of its countries – together with India in the eleventh place – account for 70% of the total cases of malaria, about 151 million.