Malaria is a potentially deadly disease caused by parasitic infections transmitted to humans by infected female mosquito bites.
It is estimated that in 2016, 216 million cases of malaria were in 91 countries, or 5 million more cases than in 2015.
Malaria resulted in 445 000 deaths in 2016, a figure similar to that of 2015 (446 000).
The African region of who supports a disproportionate share of the global burden of malaria. In 2016, 90% of malaria cases and 91% of deaths due to this disease occurred in this region.
In 2016, funding for combating and eliminating malaria was estimated at 2.7 billion (US $) in total. The contributions of the Governments of the endemic countries reached 800 million million (US $), or 31% of the funding.
Malaria is caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium transmitted to humans by bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, known as “malaria vectors”. There are 5 types of parasite species responsible for malaria in humans, of which 2 – Plasmodium falciparum and P. Vivax are the most dangerous.
Plasmodium falciparum is the most widespread malaria parasite on the African continent. He is responsible for most of the deadly cases in the world.
P. vivax is the predominant parasite outside of Africa.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In an unimmunized subject, symptoms usually occur after 10 to 15 days after the infecting mosquito bites. The first symptoms – fever, headache and shivering – can be moderate and difficult to attribute to malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, Plasmodium falciparum malaria can evolve into a severe, often fatal disease.
Severely affected children frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anemia, respiratory distress following metabolic acidosis or cerebral malaria. In adults, a multi-organic attack is also frequently observed. In endemic areas, people can sometimes be partially immunized, and there may be asymptomatic infections.
In 2016, nearly half of the world’s population was exposed to the risk of acquiring malaria. Most cases of malaria and deaths due to this disease occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, the WHO regions of Southeast Asia, the Americas and Eastern Méditérannnée are also affected. In 2016, 91 countries were confronted with continuous transmission of malaria.
Some groups of the population are at a much higher risk than others to get malaria and to be severely affected: infants, children under the age of 5, pregnant women, people with HIV or AIDS, Non-immunized migrants, itinerant populations and travellers. National malaria control programmes should take specific measures to protect these malaria groups, taking into account their situation.
Burden of disease
According to the latest report on World Malaria, published in November 2017, there were 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, compared to 211 million in 2015. The number of deaths due to malaria in 2016 is estimated at 445 000, a figure similar to that of the previous year (446 000).
The WHO region of Africa supports a disproportionate share of the global burden of malaria. In 2016, 90% of malaria cases and 91% of deaths due to this disease occurred in this region. 80% of the burden of malaria-related morbidity weighed over 15 countries – all in sub-Saharan Africa, except India.
In areas where malaria transmission is intense, children under 5 years of age are particularly vulnerable to infection, disease and death; More than two-thirds (70%) of deaths due to malaria occur in this age group.
The number of deaths recorded among children under 5 years of age increased from 440 000 in 2010 to 285 000 in 2016. However, malaria still remains a major factor in mortality among children under the age of five and a child dies every two minutes.