World Health Organisation: Malaria deaths 'drop 60% in 15 years'

Deaths from malaria have dropped 60% in the last 15 years, but three billion people remain at risk, a World Health Organisation and Unicef report has found.

The lives of 6.2 million people - mostly children - have been saved since 2000 and a target to cut deaths has been met "convincingly", it said.

New cases of malaria across the globe have also dropped by 37% in 15 years.

Children under five account for more than two-thirds of all deaths associated with malaria.

Dr Margaret Chan, director-general of WHO, said:

A researcher dissects a female mosquito in a lab. Credit: Reuters

The report said an increasing number of countries are on the verge of eliminating malaria.

In 2014, 13 countries reported no cases of the disease and six countries reported fewer than 10 cases.

But 15 countries, mainly in sub-Saharan Africa, accounted for 80% of malaria cases and 78% of deaths in 2015.

Unicef executive director, Anthony Lake, said:

Malaria is a tropical disease that is spread by mosquitoes.

A single mosquito bite can lead to infection, which can prove fatal.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, sweats and chills, headaches, vomiting and muscle pain.