Malaria cases decrease in Brazil's Amazon region

According to Brazil's health ministry, malaria cases in the Brazilian Amazon have reached 115,708 in the first half of the year, which is down 31 percent compared with the same period in 2010.
Between January and June this year, 2,030 people were admitted to the hospital with the mosquito-borne disease, which is 20 percent less than in the same half-year period last year, FOX News reports.
"The positive figures are the result of comprehensive action, which includes stepping up the routines for early diagnosis and the opportune treatment of patients," Alexandre Padilha, the county's health minister, said, according to FOX News.
A prevention campaign was launched on Monday to distribute 1.1 million mosquito nets coated with long-lasting insecticide to exterminate the insects carrying the disease. The objective of the campaign is to close the year with fewer than 300,000 cases of malaria, which Padilha said is a "daring" goal because most of the infections occur in the month of August.
The number of infections from the protozoan Plasmodium falciparum, which is the most deadly parasite that conveys human malaria, went from 26,917 in the first six months of 2010 to 13,464 in the same period this year.
The reduction in malaria cases has occurred in all regions of the Legal Amazon, which includes the states of Roraima, Rondonia, Para, Mato Grosso, Amazonas, Amapa and Acre, as well as 79 percent of Maranhao, 98 percent of Tocantins and 0.8 percent of Goias. Ninety-nine percent of malaria cases in Brazil occur in the Legal Amazon, which is inhabited by approximately 24 million people.