Intended for healthcare professionals


Malaria outbreak in Burundi reaches epidemic levels with 5.7 million infected this year

BMJ 2019; 366 doi: (Published 09 August 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;366:l5104
  1. Pat Lok,
  2. Stijntje Dijk
  1. The BMJ

Over 5.7 million people in Burundi—almost half of the total population—have been infected with malaria since the start of 2019.1

The ongoing epidemic has taken the lives of 1801 people, equalling the death toll caused by Ebola in the neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo.

Despite the outbreak reaching epidemic proportions Burundi has not yet declared a national emergency. This delay coincides with the country’s upcoming elections of 2020. A senior government official said that the president, Pierre Nkurunziza, fears that such a declaration would be seen as a failure of his health policy.

Since December 2018 the …

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