The World Health Organization reported steep declines in malaria cases and deaths compared with 2000 in a report released early Tuesday, saying the progress was particularly notable in Africa, where the disease is most prevalent. But the W.H.O. coupled the news on malaria with a warning that it could worsen again in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, the countries worst hit by the Ebola virus, which has overwhelmed their public health systems. In its World Malaria Report 2014, the W.H.O. said the malaria mortality rate fell by 47 percent worldwide and by 54 percent in the Africa region between 2000 and 2013. It attributed the improvement largely to advances in diagnostic tests as well as increases in the use of insecticide-treated bed nets and effective drug therapies. Malaria was responsible for about 584,000 deaths worldwide last year. While the scope of Ebola pales in comparison, it is far deadlier. In the W.H.O.’s latest Ebola update, on Monday, it reported 17,800 cases, including 6,331 deaths, since the outbreak began early this year.Still 100 times more deadly than Ebola fever, even with the improvements. It is noteworthy, also, that the new, lowered death count is higher than the lower bound of the generally accepted estimates of 500,000-1,000,000.
Most of the dead are babies and infants in areas without doctors, clinics or modern medicine.