Malaria deaths haven fallen by 20% worldwide over the past decade, says the World Health Organisation (WHO)'s World Malaria Report 2010.Worldwide, the parasitic infection made 225 million sick and killed 7,81,000 people in 2009, compared to the 233 million cases and 985,000 deaths in 2000. Of these, 85% deaths occurred in sub-Sharan Africa.
Globally, malaria affects 108 countries, infecting one in 10 people in tropical countries in South Asia, south-east Asia, central America, south Pacific islands, and most parts of Africa.
In India, annual malarial deaths have stagnated at around 1,100 - it was 1,133 in 2009 - since 2006, the year when deaths peaked to the highest recorded ever 1,708. Confirmed cases in India, however, fell 23% from 2,031,790 in 2000 to 1,563,344 in 2009.
Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand, West Bengal, North-eastern states account for 66% of the country's confirmed cases. Symptoms include fever, headache, vomiting and chills.
If untreated, malaria kills by disrupting blood supply to the vital organs.
In April this year, the Union Cabinet gave its nod to the Ministry of Health's five-year Rs 417.22-crore ($ 87.88 million) Intensified Malaria Control Project-II for seven north-eastern states (except Sikkim) with support from Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria.
The project will fund early detection of the more deadly P. falciparum strain through rapid diagnostic tests, treatment using the more effective artemisinin-based combination therapy, and distribution of long-lasting insecticidal nets.
Globally, only three countries - Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, and Zambia - reported an increase in the number of cases.