Malaria

Malaria is a tropical disease passed on to humans by mosquitoes and is present in over 100 countries.

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Malaria

The disease is particularly widespread in sub-Saharan Africa, where over 90% of malaria-related deaths occur.  There are a number of reasons for the geographic spread of malaria including:

  • Climate: the Anopheles mosquito species that carries the malaria disease lives in hot humid climates.  Areas with significant seasonal changes are less prone to malaria as these mosquitoes cannot survive cold winters.  Malaria-carrying mosquitoes are less likely to transmit the disease in temperatures under 16°c.-
  • Prevention and treatment: those living in developing countries may have poor access to preventative measures, treatments and medical supplies.
  • Rural areas: people in urban areas fend off malaria more successfully by limiting contact with mosquitoes.
  • Drainage: poorer drainage in rural areas also increases the risk of malaria as mosquitoes breed in stagnant water.

Almost two thirds of all cases of malaria-related deaths occur among the poorest 20% of the world’s population.

There are two general types of malaria: benign and malignant.  Benign malaria is milder and more easily treatable.  Malignant malaria can be very severe, even fatal, and if suspected requires immediate medical attention.

The disease is spread when the female of the Anopheles species of mosquito bites someone carrying the malaria parasite, then bites someone else; passing on the parasite.

Malaria occurs when the parasite passes through the blood into the liver, where it grows and develops. After it has completed its development it travels back into the blood stream, eventually attacking and destroying the red blood cells that are needed to carry oxygen around the body.


Other sources of information for these topics.

Diseases: Malaria: General Info Q&A | CDC Travelers' Health
Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by a parasite. This fact sheet covers where, how common, how it's transmitted, symptoms, and diagnosis ...

Malaria Foundation International
Facilitates the development, education and implementation of solutions to the health, economic and social problems caused by malaria.

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