Seventy-percent of India at risk for malaria

The number of malaria cases reported in India continues to drop overall, but the World Health Organization reports that 70 percent of the country remains at high risk of infection.

According to the World Malaria Report 2011, recently released by the WHO, a full quarter of India’s population is in the highest risk category for contracting the mosquito-borne illness, according to

The report estimates that in 2010, there were approximately 216 million malaria cases worldwide in 106 endemic countries and territories, with 81 percent located in Africa. The majority of cases occurred in children under the age of five, according to the Washington Post.

“Drug resistance is a major concern globally,” the report concluded, reports. “Plasmodium falciparum resistance to artemisinins, which was confirmed on the Cambodia-Thailand border in 2009, is suspected in parts of Myanmar and Vietnam. Since 2008, containment activities have been on to limit the spread of Artemisinin-resistant parasites.”

Last year, the WHO issued a global recommendation that all countries ban the marketing of oral artemisinin-based monotherapies, considered to be major factor in the emergence of drug resistance.

Despite the World Health Assembly issuing a resolution addressing the issue, 25 countries still allow artemisinin-based monotherapy marketing and 28 pharmaceutical companies continue the practice. According to the WHO report, most of the companies are located in India.