MALARIA FACTS

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

 

Facts about Malaria in the SADC Region

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.

  • Approximately 3.2 billion people – almost half of the world’s population – are at risk of malaria.

  • Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.

  • In 2017 alone, there were 216 million reported cases of malaria worldwide with nearly one million deaths, with The WHO African Region accounting for 91% of all malaria deaths, followed by the WHO South- East Asia Region (6%).

  • Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths

  • Malaria is preventable and curable.

  • Malaria can decrease gross domestic product by as much as 1.3% in countries with high disease rates.

  • Non-immune travelers from malaria-free areas are very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected.

  • There are four types of human malaria:

    • Plasmodium falciparum 

    • Plasmodium vivax

    • Plasmodium malariae

    • Plasmodium ovale.

  • Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the most common. 

  • Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly.

  • In Africa a child dies every 45 seconds of Malaria, the disease accounts for 20% of all childhood deaths.

 

SYMPTOMS

  • The first symptoms – fever, headache, chills and vomiting – may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness often leading to death. 

  • For both P. vivax and P. ovale, clinical relapses may occur weeks to months after the first infection, even if the patient has left the malarious area. These new episodes arise from “dormant” liver forms (absent in P. Falciparum and P.malariae), and special treatment – targeted at these liver stages – is mandatory for a complete cure

 

 

WHO IS AT RISK

  • Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria. 

  • Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. 

  • Asia, Latin America, and to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe are also affected. In 2017, the WHO states that malaria is present in around 100 countries and territories.

 

 

 

ECONOMIC IMPACT

  • Malaria causes significant economic losses, and can decrease gross domestic product (GDP) by as much as 1.3% in countries with high levels of transmission. Over the long term, these aggregated annual losses have resulted in substantial differences in GDP between countries with and without malaria, particularly in Africa.

  • The health costs of malaria include both personal and public expenditures on prevention and treatment. In some heavy-burden countries, the disease accounts for:

  • up to 40% of public health expenditures;

  • 30% to 50% of inpatient hospital admissions;

  • up to 60% of outpatient health clinic visits.

  • Malaria disproportionately affects poor people who cannot afford treatment or have limited access to health care, trapping families and communities in a downward spiral of poverty.

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