Wednesday, October 20, 2010

New estimates of malaria death rates in India

A study published in the Lancet suggests that roughly 200,000 deaths per year in India are due to malaria, a figure some 13 times higher than the World Health Organization estimates. As this BBC story notes, about 1.3 million deaths from infectious diseases, with acute fever as the main symptom, occur in rural parts of India each year, but the causes of these deaths are hard to determine, since most of them are not medically certified. The Lancet study used an interview technique called verbal autopsy. The WHO says the study's estimates are too high, but this story certainly raises questions about the numbers of those dying from this preventable disease. The study was jointly funded by NIH, the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute.

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