By NewsDesk  @infectiousdiseasenews

In a follow-up on the malaria epidemic in the East-Central African country of Burundi, the Ministry of Public Health  has reported 5,738,661 cases this year through July 21. This represents a 97 per cent increase compared to the same period in 2018.

Malaria life cycle/CDC

This is up from 3.2 million cases reported in late May.

In addition, 1,801 malaria-related fatalities have been recorded.

As of the 26th week, 34 health districts have passed the epidemic threshold and seven were above the alert threshold.

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Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites which are spread through mosquito bites. The World Health Organization estimates that nearly 220 million people were infected in 2017, causing at least 400,000 deaths, with children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa at most risk.