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Malaria rates drop in the Americas, but travelers still worry

Malaria continues to be a global scourge, sickening some 300 million to 500 million people annually. Most of the resulting one million to three million malaria deaths occur in regions where it is highly endemic, such as sub-Saharan Africa and parts of south Asia.

Some parts of the world where malaria was once rampant, however—such as Central and South America—have seen morbidity and mortality rates of the disease cut in half in the past decade, reported specialists here Wednesday at the 14th annual International Congress on Infectious Diseases in Miami. And areas where it is currently common, including many African countries, might expect eradication in the next decade, according to a report released Monday by the Global Fund, an organization that addresses infectious diseases. New malaria treatment guidelines, published Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO), could help achieve that goal by advocating for universal testing of all suspected cases and treatment of confirmed patients with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), which has gained prominence since the guidelines were first published four years ago.

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