Malaria Fact Sheet

Key facts about Malaria

 

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
  • In 2009, malaria caused an estimated 781 000 deaths, mostly among African children.
  • Malaria is preventable and curable.
  • Malaria can decrease gross domestic product by as much as 1.3% in countries with high disease rates.
  • According to the World Malaria Report 2010, there were 225 million cases of malaria and an estimated 781 000 deaths in 2009, a decrease from 233 million cases and 985 000 deaths in 2000.
  • Most deaths occur among children living in Africa where a child dies every 45 seconds of malaria and the disease accounts for approximately 20% of all childhood deaths.
  • Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors", which bite mainly between dusk and dawn.
  • Malaria is transmitted exclusively through the bites of Anopheles mosquitoes. The intensity of transmission depends on factors related to the parasite, the vector, the human host, and the environment.
  • Approximately half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected. In 2009, malaria was present in 108 countries and territories.
  • The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) .
  • Malaria causes significant economic losses, and can decrease gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 1.3% in countries with high levels of transmission. Over the long term, these aggregated annual losses have resulted in substantial differences in GDP between countries with and without malaria, particularly in Africa.
  • The health costs of malaria include both personal and public expenditures on prevention and treatment. In some heavy-burden countries, the disease accounts for:

  • up to 40% of public health expenditures;
  • 30% to 50% of inpatient hospital admissions;
  • up to 60% of outpatient health clinic visits.

 

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