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6 facts you didn’t know about malaria


This blog was previously published in 2022 and updated in October 2023.

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 200 million people were infected with malaria in 2020

Globally, there were 241 million cases of malaria in 2020. And in that same year, there were over 620,000 malaria-related deaths. A vast majority of these cases were in sub-Saharan Africa.

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

Malaria has been eliminated in certain parts of the world, particularly in countries with temperate climates. But it‘s not eradicated entirely (in fact, there have been recent cases in the United States). 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 sub-Saharan Africa. In 2020, 96% of malaria-related deaths and 95% 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 is a malaria vaccine for children

In 2021, the World Health Organization issued a recommendation regarding the widespread use of a groundbreaking malaria vaccine, RTS,S. They issued the recommendation for children in sub-Saharan Africa, where malaria is still a leading cause of death and illness among children, and in other regions with moderate to high transmission of malaria.

The vaccine‘s development is historic. It‘s another tool to fight this preventable disease and end the global health crisis.

*And, in 2023, the WHO recommended the use of another malaria vaccine.

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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