World Malaria Day 2020
In 2020, with the coronavirus pandemic reaching a global scale, many of us are experiencing the real threat of an invisible and potentially deadly enemy for the first time. Many countries in the southern hemisphere—and mankind historically—have been battling against another similar but, time considered, more deadly ancient enemy. Malaria is consistently one of the largest killers on Earth, averaging at least a half million deaths per year around the world.
WHO is most at risk?
The World Health Organization estimates that in 2018, malaria caused 228 million clinical episodes and 405,000 deaths. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to malaria’s effects. About 272,000 of the aforementioned deaths were children under the age of five.
WHAT are the effects of malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by tiny parasites. Though it can be spread through blood transfusions, dirty syringes, and from mother to unborn child, mosquitoes are the most common cause of transmission. When a mosquito bites a person with malaria, the parasites infect the mosquito and are then passed on to the next person that gets bitten.
The symptoms of malaria are often similar to those of the flu. People come down with fever, chills, sweats, body aches, and nausea. Although malaria can be treated, the people most at risk often do not have ready access to health care, which means that severe illness, complications, and death are more likely to occur.
Malaria also has long-term effects. Since it disproportionately affects poorer communities, the economic burden of the illness is exacerbated. Families may strain their already limited resources in an effort to pay for treatment while also facing the burden of caring for an ill family member. This contributes to a cycle of poverty from which it is hard to escape.
WHERE is malaria an issue?
Malaria is a very real threat for the 3.4 billion people living in 106 countries who are at risk of malaria. It most commonly occurs in tropical and subtropical areas where mosquitoes are most prevalent and public health measures to control the disease have not been fully implemented. Approximately 94% of malaria deaths in 2018 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
WHEN will malaria be eliminated?
There is some good news. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have decreased by about 25% thanks to a renewed effort to combat the disease and, in 2018, 49 at-risk countries reported fewer than 10,000 such cases, up from 46 countries in 2017. The long-term goal is complete eradication of malaria.
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Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/
Johns Hopkins University Malaria Research Institute: https://malaria.jhsph.edu/
Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan: http://rbm.who.int/I.html