Part 7: Children and immunocompromised persons with malaria

Malaria is most dangerous for children up to 11 years of age and immunocompromised persons (for example, HIV disease also weakens the immune system). Over 50% of malaria deaths are children even younger than 5 years old. In 2019, the proportion of deaths among children younger than 5 was as high as 67%, or 408,000 children who died from malaria.


The graph below shows that severe courses of malaria (dark green area) are virtually non-existent from the age of 15, and adults are mainly affected by mild courses of malaria or contract asymptomatic infections (red area). These, in turn, mainly affect people with weak immune systems.

source: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S009286741631008X


Often a severe course of malaria also occurs in combination with another disease, such as pneumonia, or hits people especially hard who are already weakened due to malnutrition. However, if the symptoms are recognized quickly and malaria medication is administered (see also our article on symptoms), a severe illness can be treated very well, as was the case with these three children:


Patients who have suffered from severe malaria, but thanks to the health fund of Kivuko e.V. have been provided with medication and are healthy again.


All in all, there is still an enormous need for action in the fight against malaria, especially to protect the youngest members of society. You can read more about this in our November article on malaria vaccination, which promises immense success, especially for children.


Source: who.int, World Malaria Bericht 2019, 30. November 2020