In a follow-up on the malaria outbreak in Burundi, the World Health Organization (WHO) says the situation has shown marked improvement in the last weeks, though the overall situation remains serious.
While improvement is noted, officials say even with a declining in cases in recent weeks, the number of cases are still much higher than last year.
Since the beginning of 2017, a total of 4,864,976 clinical cases of malaria including 2,205 deaths (case fatality rate 0.05%) have been registered across the country. While the entire country is reporting a high burden of malaria, the northern, central and eastern regions are most affected.
Ten out of 18 provinces in the country are in epidemic phase, namely Karusi, Gitega, Muyinga, Kirundo, Kayanza, Ngozi, Bubanza, Cankuzo, Cibitoke and Ruyigi.
The Ministry of Health formally declared the outbreak on 13 March 2017.
The improvement started following enhanced efforts to strengthen the response operations. These improvements may be partly attributed to several key interventions, including stepping up supervision of response activities, conducting indoor residual spraying in hot-spot areas, securing supplies of anti-malarial medicines, and strengthening clinical management of cases.
With the upcoming rainy season, starting in October, comes concerns of the situation worsening again, health officials note.
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