LONDON - Britain's Queen Elizabeth II has voiced concerns that malaria risks being sidelined because of the focus on the Ebola virus, a medical professor said after meeting the monarch Tuesday.
"After Ebola we will still have malaria," the queen said, according to David Heymann, professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.
The queen was visiting the foreign affairs think tank Chatham House in central London to open a new international leadership academy.
"She was very interested in Ebola because she said her doctor had told her that there were more people dying from malaria every week than are dying from Ebola - and he was right," said Heymann.
"She's afraid that malaria will have a comeback because of the fact people are not paying enough attention to it." The professor said the queen was "very perceptive", noting that children with fever could miss out on medical care as hospitals fill up with Ebola patients in affected areas.
He said there was "a great fear" that infant deaths from malaria and diarrhoeal diseases would increase.
"This should not detract attention from Ebola. It's a very terrible disease," he added.
"But on the other hand what the queen has done is call attention to other infectious diseases." "She was concerned that efforts to address Ebola should not detract from work to combat other health threats in West Africa," a royal source said.
Although it is preventable and treatable, malaria kills hundreds of thousands of people around the world each year, mainly children in sub-Saharan Africa.
There were an estimated 207 million cases of the disease in 2012, according to World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates.
The Ebola outbreak - almost entirely confined to parts of West Africa - has left 5,177 people dead from around 14,500 cases since the virus emerged in Guinea in December, WHO announced on Friday.