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Interesting Facts and Statistics about Malaria

Last Updated on Jul 21, 2023

What is Malaria?

Unlike most infections that are caused by bacteria and viruses, there is no malaria virus or bacteria that causes the infection. The disease is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by mosquitoes. The symptoms of malaria can be rather extreme even when dealing with mild cases of malaria. Symptoms typically include high fevers, severe anemia and flu-like symptoms that could include chills and shivering. This does not pose much of a threat to healthy individuals, but pregnant women, young children and the aged are at a high risk because of complications that may develop on account of the symptoms. Severe cases of malaria can be a lot more worrying, as children can experience lifelong intellectual disabilities as a result of the infection (1 Trusted Source
Malaria’s Impact Worldwide

Go to source
).

Malaria Facts

An important aspect of any strategy to combat an infection with preventive measures depends on public awareness, as this is an important determinant in the success of any strategy. Below are some interesting facts and statistics on malaria.

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Interesting Statistics on Malaria

  1. Nearly 50% of the world’s population is at the risk of malaria, according to the WHO. There were almost 247 million recorded malaria cases in 2021, with around 619,000 of them resulting in fatalities (2 Trusted Source
    Malaria

    Go to source
    ).
  2. Modern malaria medications have been extremely effective, but poor health care services and the lack of access to anti-malarial drugs in developing and underdeveloped regions have contributed to the high human cost.
  3. Out of all the recorded fatalities, 95% are localized within the WHO Africa Region. Children are most often the victims, with most of the victims being children under the age of 5 years old (2 Trusted Source
    Malaria

    Go to source
    ).
  4. Indoor residual spraying is another effective preventive strategy, but it is most effective when at least 80% of all the houses receive the treatment within the target area. The effects of indoor spraying can last for 3 to 6 months (2 Trusted Source
    Malaria

    Go to source
    ).
  5. Interestingly, there were 63 outbreaks of ‘locally transmitted mosquito borne malaria’ in the US between 1957 and 2011. In such cases, local mosquitoes become transmitters after feeding on individuals who are carriers of the parasite, having picked it up from an endemic area.
  6. In 2021, fewer than 1000 cases of the disease reported in 35 countries, up from 33 countries in 2020 and just 13 countries in 2000 (2 Trusted Source
    Malaria

    Go to source
    ).
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Why Identification of Malaria is Important?

  1. Access to diagnostic testing and treatment is central to the outcome of any strategy to combat malaria. Early diagnosis and treatment can significantly reduce the spread of disease and would bring about a huge reduction in malaria fatalities (3 Trusted Source
    Malaria Diagnosis (United States)

    Go to source
    ).

Cure and Avoidance of Malaria

  1. Despite the emerging drug resistance, artemisinin still remains effective as a treatment for malaria, when used in combination with drugs that are locally effective (4 Trusted Source
    Malaria: Artemisinin partial resistance

    Go to source
    ).
  2. Preventive measures are extremely effective and insecticidal nets have been found to offer considerable protection against malaria. Such nets are used in high-risk areas, vulnerable groups like pregnant women and young children (5 Trusted Source
    About Malaria

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    ).
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Malaria in Pregnant Women

  1. Malaria poses an especially high risk of fatalities to pregnant women because of the possibility of complications like premature delivery, stillbirth, spontaneous abortions and maternal anemia (1 Trusted Source
    Malaria’s Impact Worldwide

    Go to source
    ).

Probability of Getting Malaria

  1. The risk of malaria is higher for travelers who live in areas where malaria is not common. While most local populations have some kinds of immunity, visitors have no such natural protection.
  2. An even greater risk however faces immigrants who live in malaria free regions and return to visit their home countries where malaria is endemic. Their levels of immunity to the parasite are waning or may even be completely absent (6 Trusted Source
    Malaria - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    Go to source
    ).

Variant of Malaria

  1. An interesting, albeit disturbing, phenomenon has been noted in recent years, with a zoonotic variant of malaria surfacing in certain parts of South East Asia. The parasite that normally only affected monkeys in the region is called Plasmodium knowlesi (7 Trusted Source
    Proposed Integrated Control of Zoonotic Plasmodium knowlesi in Southeast Asia Using Themes of One Health

    Go to source
    ).
  2. Although eerily reminiscent of Bram Stoker’s vampires, mosquitoes are generally more active at night and tend to feed off their victims’ blood after sundown. This holds true for almost all of the important vector species at least.

Vaccine for Malaria

  1. WHO recommends RTS, S/AS01 (RTS, S) malaria vaccine in sub-Saharan Africa and in other regions with moderate to high P.falciparum malaria transmission (7 Trusted Source
    Proposed Integrated Control of Zoonotic Plasmodium knowlesi in Southeast Asia Using Themes of One Health

    Go to source
    ).
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Combat against Malaria

  1. To combat and survive infection, the Chinese recommended the use of the Qinghaosu plant, while South Americans recommended the Cinchona tree. Primary components in malaria drugs- artemisinin and quinine are both derivatives of these plants.
  2. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is probably one of the best-known governmental agencies that combat infectious diseases and possible outbreaks. .
  3. CDC was originally formed to fight Malaria, which was a WWII era agency that was setup to address the malaria crisis that plagued US forces in the Pacific and Africa.

Outbreaks of Malaria

  1. Brazil became the first nation to use genetically modified mosquitoes to combat and contain its problem with mosquito borne diseases like malaria and dengue.
  2. The strategy is implemented by releasing genetically modified sterile male mosquitoes that proceed to mate with wild females. This works to reduce the population drastically as female mosquitoes typically mate just once.

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