Malaria is a common but potentially deadly infectious disease affecting people worldwide. It is caused by parasites that are transmitted to humans through infected mosquitos. Malaria is one of the most devastating and fatal diseases in the world.
Malaria causes frequent fevers and flu-like symptoms, ranging from chills and headaches to muscular pain and fatigue. In more severe cases, it can cause anemia, seizures, coma, and even death.
In 2017, there were estimated 219 million cases of malaria around the world, resulting in 435,000 lives lost.
Over 90% of malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, and most occur in children under 5.
Sub-Saharan Africa also accounts for over 80% of the global financial burden of malaria, with direct costs of inpatient treatment estimated to be up to US$12.6 billion in 2017.
The most effective way to prevent malaria is using insecticide-treated bed nets (ITNs), which have reduced childhood deaths from malaria by nearly 40% in African countries.
Diagnosing malaria can be challenging and can involve a combination of rapid diagnostic tests, clinical assessments, and laboratory-based tests.
In areas where malaria is common, antimalarial drugs can be used to prevent infection.
Vaccine development is an exciting field of research, and a number of promising vaccine candidates are currently in clinical trials.
Malaria is also spread via blood transfusions and organ transplants, so effective screening and prevention methods must be implemented to minimize this risk.
Malaria is also emerging as a major public health burden in Latin America, with cases increasing by over 35% since 2000.