Children spread malaria most says new study
November 24, 2005
Children should be the focus malaria control efforts as they are ones most likely to be bitten by mosquitoes carrying the parasite, according to new research published in Nature.
Using records of infection in about 5,000 children under the age of 15 in 90 communities in Africa, the researchers estimate that 80% of all new malaria infections are concentrated in just 20% of the population. Malaria kills about 2 million people each year, most of them children under five. Most malaria deaths occur in Africa where the disease kills a child every 30 seconds, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
The researchers do not yet know what makes a child more likely to be infected. They say it could involve genetic or immunological factors or it could be that the poorest children in a community, who do not sleep under protective mosquitos nets, are most susceptible to malaria infection.