A shocking new study has revealed that worldwide deaths from malaria stand at 1.2 million per year – nearly double previous estimated mortality rates.
According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, past studies were incorrect because they largely took into account deaths of babies and those under the age of five; whereas new data reveals that 42% of those that succumb to the disease are older children and adults.
“You learn in medical school that people exposed to malaria as children develop immunity and rarely die from malaria as adults,” Christopher Murray, who led the study as IHME Director, told News Daily. “What we’ve found in hospital records, death records, surveys and other sources shows that just is not the case.”
According to the study, more than 78,000 children aged five to 14, and more than 445,000 people aged 15 and older died from malaria in 2010. The World Health Organization originally estimated that “only” 655,000 people total had died from malaria in 2010.
All of this data brings into sharp focus the great need to help fund organizations that work to save people from the mosquito-borne virus. Celebrities like Katharine McPhee, Mandy Moore, Sarah Silverman, George Clooney and Conan O’Brien regularly support organizations like Malaria No More and Nothing But Nets.
Giving is even more important with the economic downturn, which the report concludes could have a devastating impact on efforts to protect people from the disease. “If the Global Fund is weakened, the world could lose 40 percent of all the funding dedicated to fighting malaria,” said Stephen Lim, also at IHME and a co-author on the study.