Key facts (from The World Health Organization)
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
- In 2010, malaria caused an estimated 655,000 deaths, mostly among African children (see 2011 World Malaria Report).
- In 2010, there were about 216 million cases of malaria worldwide.
- Increased malaria prevention and control measures are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places. Malaria mortality rates have fallen by more than 25% globally since 2000, and by 33% in the World Health Organization ‘African Region’.
- Malaria is preventable and curable.
- Non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they get infected.
Malaria is a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite entering the human bloodstream, transmitted via the bite of a mosquito vector (CDC, 2010). The Plasmodium parasite is transmitted by female mosquitoes and follows a complex lifecycle, with different stages occurring in mosquitoes and various human organs. The female mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected person, and the parasite then undergoes certain life-cycle stages within the mosquito. The mosquito can then transmit the parasite to another human only if it takes another blood meal while the Plasmodium parasite is at the proper life stage (CDC, 2010).