Public Health

Progress Falters in Battle Against Malaria

Death rate has fallen, but so have use of nets, pesticides to stop spread

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The fight against malaria is slowing down amid a dramatic drop in efforts to reverse the epidemic, even as health officials insist they will try to meet their idealistic target of virtually eliminating deaths from the parasitic illness by the end of 2015.

Malaria causes symptoms including fever, chills and vomiting and can kill if not treated early. It mainly strikes children under 5, mostly in Africa.

In 2010, about 145 million bed nets were given out across Africa to protect people against the mosquitoes that spread the killer disease. Last year, that fell to about 66 million. The number of homes in Africa sprayed with pesticides has also stalled, as have attempts to treat pregnant women, one of the high-risk groups.

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