In 2000, the World Health Organization (WHO) reported over 839,000 people had been infected with, and died from, malaria. While that is a staggering number, it’s nothing compared to the 300 to 500 million cases of malaria reported each year for the last 4000 years. Want to hear something even more mind-blowing? We’ve more than halved the number of deaths from malaria in the past decade. In 2015 new malaria vaccine success rates have brought the number of individuals infected fatally to 438,000.
Where is Malaria?
Most cases of malaria are found in Sub-Saharan Africa. To put this in perspective, of the 214 million malaria cases reported in 2015, only 1500 were reported in the USA. Even then, most of those American cases were from travelers that had just returned from trips to Sub-Saharan Africa.
What is Malaria?
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines malaria as a fatal disease caused by a parasite that infects a specific type of mosquito. Humans contract the disease by being fed upon by one of these infected mosquitoes. Through violent contact, humans can also be infected with a strain of malaria that naturally infects macaque monkeys.
What does Malaria look like?
Malaria symptoms manifest themselves as an intense sickness. The infected individuals appear to have a severe flu, with a high fever, shaking, and chills. Malaria is not contagious. In other words, you don’t need to run the other way from a person infected with Malaria. You can’t catch malaria from anything but mosquitoes and macaques.
Vaccines for the win
According to the Albany Daily Star, since 2000, death rates associated with malaria have fallen by 66% in all age groups, and 71% in children under five. The WHO’s director general, Margaret Chan, reported that the massive distribution of prevention and treatment tools was responsible for the great progress made over the last decade. Among those treatment tools were the newest antimalarial medicines. The world’s first malaria vaccine was submitted for approval last year, and the WHO hopes to completely eliminate malaria by 2040.
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