PHNOM PENH, Jan. 23 (Xinhua) -- The number of reported malaria cases and deaths in Cambodia respectively dropped by 8.5 percent and 25 percent in 2008 over the previous year, national media on Friday quoted the National Malaria Center as saying.
The number of confirmed malaria cases decreased to 59,840 in 2008 from 54,784 in 2007, and deaths to 184 from 241, according to the center.
"The trend is downward but it is not sharp," Rashid Abdur, malaria scientist for the World Health Organization (WHO) in Cambodia, told English-Khmer language newspaper the Cambodia Daily.
Meanwhile, Duong Socheat, director of the National Center for Parasitology, Entomology and Malaria Control Program, attributed the dip primarily to early diagnosis and treatment, and better health education particularly in rural areas.
Durable mosquito nets treated with insecticide have also contributed to the progress against malaria.
"One net can last for three to five years," he added.
According to the WHO, about a half million Cambodians live in forested regions where malaria transmission is intense.