Malaria is a disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans by Anopheles mosquitoes. Two related parasite species cause the majority of disease and death from malaria. They are Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax.
In areas affected by malaria, children and pregnant women are especially vulnerable and this is compounded further by poverty. In Africa, where 80% of malaria cases are treated at home, the disease kills one child in twenty before the age of five.
Malaria is a massive public health problem and occurs in more than 100 countries, inhabited by some 3.3 billion people – half of the world's population. We estimate the more deadly form of the malaria parasite (Plasmodium falciparum) causes 300-500 million clinical cases and approximately one million deaths each year. Crudely calculated this is one death every thirty seconds. Malaria is, however, preventable and curable using extremely cost-effective treatments and control measures. There is the potential for this substantial human and economic burden to largely be averted, and our maps assist organisations that need to know where resources are required.
Travellers to regions where there is malaria have a greater risk of both getting malaria and dying from their infection, and this includes both children and adults. All travellers to countries with a malaria risk may get a potentially deadly disease so taking proper precautions and timely travel advice is essential. Our maps are not a substitute for speaking to your doctor.