Intended for healthcare professionals


Death toll from malaria is double the WHO estimate, study finds

BMJ 2012; 344 doi: (Published 06 February 2012) Cite this as: BMJ 2012;344:e895
  1. Anne Gulland
  1. 1London

The World Health Organization has defended its figures on malaria mortality after a study found that the number of deaths from the disease had been seriously underestimated.

In a paper published in the Lancet (doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(12)60034-8) Christopher Murray, director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues found that in 2010 1.2 million people died from malaria. This is in contrast to WHO’s World Malaria Report, published in December 2011 (BMJ 2011;343:d8079, doi:10.1136/bmj.d8079), which found that 655 000 people died from the disease in the same year.

The researchers systematically searched for all available published and unpublished data on malaria mortality between 1 January 1980 and 31 December 2010. They found that the …

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