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A worker fumigates buildings to control malaria in Sri Lanka in 2011. Photo: Eranga Jayawardena / AP Photo

There were 5 million more malaria cases in 2016 compared to the previous year, according to the World Health Organization. This is an abrupt change: the number of cases dropped over 60% from 2000-2015. "For the first time, we can confidently say that we have stopped making progress," Pedro Alonso, the director of the Global Malaria Programme at the World Health Organization tells Amy Maxmen at Nature.

Why it matters: According to the WHO, more than half the world's population is at risk of contracting malaria. In 2015, over 200 million people were infected with malaria and nearly half a million died, mostly children under the age of 5.

Why it's happening:

  • Funding shortages. In 2016, the amount of money spent combatting malaria decreased. Reports Maxmen, "A review of 75 malaria resurgences between 1930 and 2011 found that most upticks in the disease followed funding disruptions."
  • Indoor residual spraying. The Economist reports some are blaming a decline in indoor residual spraying, which treats walls of houses with insecticide, for the increase. But evidence on the efficacy of indoor residual spraying is mixed.
  • Ongoing humanitarian crises in countries like Sudan and Yemen make targeting malaria in those places more difficult, though the WHO reports apparent reductions in cases in some of those countries.
  • Access to treatment is still less than it should be in many countries, reports the WHO.

Drug resistance: It's concerning that we're seeing more malaria cases, in part because resistance to some drugs is rapidly spreading in malaria in Southeast Asia. The region only accounts for 3% of malaria cases, reports Maxmen, but if the resistant disease makes it to Africa deaths could dramatically increase.

The bottom line: "If you ask me, the number-one priority must be to ensure that people stop dying of a disease that is entirely curable," Alonso told Maxmen.

Go deeper

Using apps to prevent deadly police encounters

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Mobile phone apps are evolving in ways that can stop rather than simply document deadly police encounters with people of color — including notifying family and lawyers about potential violations in real time.

Why it matters: As states and cities face pressure to reform excessive force policies, apps that monitor police are becoming more interactive, gathering evidence against rogue officers as well as posting social media videos to shame the agencies.

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata
11 hours ago - Technology

TikTok gets more time (again)

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The White House is again giving TikTok's Chinese parent company more to satisfy national security concerns, rather than initiating legal action, a source familiar with the situation tells Axios.

The state of play: China's ByteDance had until Friday to resolve issues raised by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S. (CFIUS), which is chaired by Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin. This was the company's third deadline, with CFIUS having provided two earlier extensions.

Federal judge orders Trump administration to restore DACA

DACA recipients and their supporters rally outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 18. Photo: Drew Angerer via Getty

A federal judge on Friday ordered the Trump administration to fully restore the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, giving undocumented immigrants who arrived in the U.S. as children a chance to petition for protection from deportation.

Why it matters: DACA was implemented under former President Obama, but President Trump has sought to undo the program since taking office. Friday’s ruling will require Department of Homeland Security officers to begin accepting applications starting Monday and guarantee that work permits are valid for two years.

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