The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that about 243 million people became seriously ill from
malaria in 2008, and almost a million people died.1
Most cases of malaria and most of the deaths
caused by malaria occur in Africa.1
Although most cases of malaria are caused by Plasmodium falciparum or P. vivax,
P. falciparum accounts for almost all of the deaths
caused by malaria.1
People traveling to Africa may have a higher risk of
infection because they frequently stay outdoors and often camp in rural areas
where mosquitoes are common. There may be no risk of malaria (even in
malaria-infested areas such as Southeast Asia and South America) if travelers
stay in urban or resort areas where there are fewer mosquitoes.
In the United
States 1,298 people developed malaria in 2008 (the most recent year for which
statistics are available). Most of the people were infected with
P. falciparum malaria. Two of the people died.2 Cases of malaria in the U.S. occur primarily in
international travelers, military personnel, and immigrants from countries
where malaria is present.
World Health Organization (2009). World Malaria Report 2009. Available online:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (2010).
Malaria surveillance-United States, 2008. MMWR,
59(SS07): 1-15. [Erratum in MMWR, 59(29):
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
April 20, 2011
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
April 20, 2011
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