Malaria toll outstrips Ebola in the aftermath of EVD in Guinea

While the world focused on the well- (if not over-) publicised terrors of Ebola Virus Disease, the planet’s second most prolific killer, Malaria, spreads seemingly unnoticed.

Sources differ, but the estimated global Ebola death toll was recorded at ± 11,200 deaths at the start of July 2015. Measured since the onset of the outbreak in February 2014.

The WHO records annual malaria deaths at an estimated 584 000 deaths (with an uncertainty range of 367 000 to 755 000).

These figures show that in the same 16-month EVD outbreak period, Malaria would (using the uncertainty midpoint) have killed ± 748,000 people.

Malaria toll outstrips Ebola

Malaria vs Ebola Fatalities

Two articles recently published respectively by the Guardian and Japan TIMES, highlights the importance of keeping our collective eyes on Malaria, amid the Ebola hype.

The articles both report that the Malaria death toll rose sharply in Guinea caused by public fear of potential Ebola isolation when seeking Malaria treatment.

The articles reference a recent study by Dr Mateusz Plucinski (CDC) published in the Lancet Medical Journal, which provides empirical scientific evidence of the threat of tropical disease (such as Malaria) going unchecked while we remain preoccupied by EVD.

We need to remain vigilant of the EVD threat, but not loose focus on the ever ever-present risk of tropical diseases that permeates the environment in which we operate. While we bolster our Ebola defences through improved hygiene efforts in and around our site operations, Malaria remains prevalent and undeterred.

When we draft and augment our Ebola response and defence plans, we should perhaps spend a little additional time to accurately map our Malaria management and control strategies, lest our defences be flanked by this skilled  and ruthless killer.

by Pierre du Toit