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6 facts you didn’t know about malaria


This blog was previously published in 2022 and updated in April 2024.

Malaria remains a global health crisis, and it‘s up to advocacy and action from people around the world to end this crisis once and for all. But what do you really know about the disease? Do you know what type of mosquito spreads it? Or what the symptoms are?

Here are 6 facts you should know about malaria.

More than 240 million people were infected with malaria in 2022

Globally, there were 249 million cases of malaria in 2022. And in that same year, there were over 608,000 malaria deaths. A vast majority of these cases occurred in the WHO African region.

Malaria has been eliminated in some places, but not eradicated globally

Malaria has been eliminated in certain parts of the world. A total of 43 countries and 1 territory have now been certified malaria-free. Most recently, Cabo Verde was certified malaria-free by the World Health Organization in January 2024, a historic and celebratory milestone in the fight against malaria.

But the disease is not eradicated entirely. Eradication would mean that there is no more malaria anywhere in the world — it would no longer exist.

Malaria remains prevalent in subtropical and tropical parts of the world. Malaria cases and deaths are highest in the WHO African region. In 2022, 95% of malaria-related deaths and 94% of malaria cases occurred in the region.

Malaria spreads through the bite of female mosquitoes

You know that malaria is transmitted through mosquitoes. But more specifically, the disease is transmitted via a bite from a female Anopheles mosquito that is infected with Plasmodium parasites. There are five different species of the Plasmodium parasite that can transmit malaria from female mosquitoes to humans.

Malaria symptoms can vary

Malaria patients can experience a range of symptoms — from none to mild, to severe. Typically, symptoms include tiredness, flu and fever-like illness, chills, muscle aches, and headaches. Severe cases of malaria can cause organ failure and even death. But malaria is curable if diagnosed quickly and treated correctly.

There are two malaria vaccines for children

The World Health Organization has now recommended two vaccines to prevent malaria in children, RTS and R21. The world’s first routine immunization program using RTS,S began in Cameroon in January 2024. More countries in Africa have also started rolling out RTS,S as part of routine immunization programs. R21 is expected to be rolled out in several African countries starting in May 2024. Demand for these vaccines is high; at least 28 countries in Africa have expressed interest.

The  development of these vaccines is historic, and, when used with other tools, like bednets, have the potential to reduce the risk of death from malaria among children. Though not silver bullets in the fight against malaria, they are a welcome tool to fight this preventable disease and end the global health crisis.

You can help end malaria everywhere

Now that you‘re up to speed on malaria facts, you can do your part to make a difference. Action and advocacy are essential to ending malaria everywhere, which is why we need your help in demanding that global leaders invest in programs.

Ready to take action? Sign our petition now!

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