Malaria is a febrile debilitating illness, which can lead to chronic anaemia, brain and kidney damage and death, especially amongst children and pregnant women. It is caused by the Plasmodium parasite that is injected into the blood system by an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
Official figures put the number of people affected worldwide at between 350 and 500 million per year, with Sub-Saharan Africa accounting for over half of these cases.
Within this region more than a million people die each year from the disease, and the majority of these are children.
What is the problem?
Malaria is difficult to eradicate as the mosquitoes breed in swampy marshy areas of the tropics, and the parasite is becoming resistant to the cheaper drugs. Without control Malaria can have a dramatic impact on economic development. Income to countries have been devastated by malaria because so many people are off work ill with it. It is reckoned that billions could be saved by eliminating malaria.
How is malaria caused?
By the Plasmodium parasite injected into the blood by an infected anopheles mosquito.
Has malaria just appeared?
No. It was first described in writings as long ago as 2,700 BC.
What are the answers?
- Clear the swampy areas
- Stop the mosquitoes biting
- Kill the parasite
Unfortunately once you have caught malaria it keeps coming back for the rest of your life.
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
- In 2012, malaria caused an estimated 627 000 deaths (with an uncertainty range of 473 000 to 789 000), mostly among African children.
- Malaria is preventable and curable.
- Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
- Non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected