Why the grim malaria stats for children?

Doctor diagnosing a child with malaria in Cunene province, Angola.

Doctor diagnosing a child with malaria in Cunene province, Angola.

We know mosquito nets are important for young children because they are more vulnerable to malaria, but why? According to the Angola Malaria Indicator Survey*, for about six months following birth, antibodies acquired from the mother during pregnancy protect children born in areas of endemic malaria. This immunity is gradually lost, and children start to develop their own immunity to malaria. The pace at which immunity is developed depends on their exposure to malaria infection. In areas where malaria is endemic and transmission is intense, children are thought to achieve a high level of immunity by their fifth birthday. Before then, young children may experience repeated episodes of malaria, some of them life-threatening such as cerebral malaria. This contributes to high childhood mortality rates in a number of countries. In areas of low malaria transmission, immunity is acquired more slowly.
In 2004 Angola reported 3.2 million cases of malaria, two-thirds of them in children under 5 years of age. It is estimated that malaria accounts for 35% of overall mortality in children under five and 60% of hospital admissions of children under five.

*The 2006-07 Angola Malaria Indicator Survey (AMIS) is the first survey in Angola to collect nationally representative data on malaria-specific indicators.

For more information about malaria and the Angola Mosquito Net Project, click here to download our latest update.

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One Response

  1. […] public links >> immunity Why the grim malaria stats for children? Saved by Ponderoyn on Tue 21-10-2008 Immunity-Lori Andrews Saved by ninsky on Wed 15-10-2008 […]

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