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Embracing Humanity Worldwide

Our Mission is to facilitate the development and implementation of solutions to the health, economic, and social problems caused by malaria.

FAQ's: Where Does Malaria Occur?

Malaria occurs in many locations of the tropical world and in some locations of the subtropics. It is most common between the latitudes of 23.5o North [Tropic of Cancer] and 23.5o South but cases (often seasonal) also occur outside of these latitudes in areas such as portions of South Africa [Kruger National Park and surrounding area - 25o South] and New Delhi, India [28.5o North].
  • Africa: Malaria is very common in SubSaharan Africa. The predominant species is Plasmodium falciparum. Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous of the four species of human malaria. Malaria causes an estimated 2.7 million deaths per year, with most of these deaths occurring in Africa. Ninety percent of the world's malaria cases occur in Africa. Chloroquine resistance is widespread in Africa. Now, malaria outbreaks are being reported in some locations of Africa that had been previously thought to be at elevations too high for malaria transmission, such as the highlands of Kenya. Some scientists hypothesize this is due to climatic change, while others hypothesize that this is due to human migration. Also, malaria has resurged in certain locations of Africa that had previously had effective control programs, such as Madagascar, South Africa, and Zanzibar.
  • Asia: Malaria is widespread in numerous countries in Asia and Oceania, including India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea. Malaria also occurs in portions of Iran and the Middle East. Plasmodium falciparum is common, as is Plasmodium vivax. Plasmodium falciparum infections unfortunately increased during the 1990s in India and Sri Lanka. Resistance in Plasmodium falciparum to multiple drugs is present in portions of Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand, and Laos, and chloroquine resistance is widespread in Asia. Plasmodium malariae also occurs in this area.
  • South America: Malaria occurs at altitudes below 1000 m in portions of countries in South America, including Brazil, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana. The most common species in this area is Plasmodium vivax, although there is an unfortunate increase in Plasmodium falciparum cases, particularly in regions where control programs have deteriorated or been abandoned since the early 1990s.
  • Central America and Southern Mexico: Malaria occurs in low-altitude areas of the countries of Central America including Honduras, Nicaragua, and Guatemala. Limited numbers of cases occur in Panama, Costa Rica, and southern Mexico. Active control programs are in place in several of these countries. Plasmodium vivax is the dominant species, and fortunately, remains susceptible to chloroquine.
  • Caribbean: Malaria remains eliminated from several countries of the Caribbean. However, malaria [P. falciparum] occurs in Haiti and in limited numbers of cases in the Dominican Republic.
  • Europe: Malaria [Plasmodium vivax] occurs in Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan.
  • North America: Malaria eradication programmes during the 1940s and 1950s, along with widespread use of screening, eliminated malaria from this region, and there is no year-to-year local transmission. However, isolated, rare cases of local transmission have occurred. North America, the Caribbean region, Europe, Australia, and Mexico and Central America are the major success stories of malaria vector control efforts.
Go to MFI's epidemiology page to find map sources.

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