A newly-released report said the numbers of global malaria deaths and cases have plunged to their lowest point since 2000, when the Millennium Development Goals were established.

Malaria deaths have dropped by 60 percent and cases by 37 percent, thereby halting and reversing the devastation caused by this ancient killer, the report said.

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The report, released Thursday in London by the World Health Organization and U.N. Children’s Fund, called the sharp drop in malaria deaths and cases an unprecedented success, citing new tools developed over the past 15 years.  These include easy-to-use diagnostics, Artemisinin-based combination therapies and long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets.

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The new technologies have saved 6.2 million lives since 2000, the majority under age 5, according to UNICEF senior health specialist Mark Young.  He said a significant increase in the use of insecticide-treated bed nets had played a major role.

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