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* Malaria

  • Malaria is a single-celled protozoan parasite multiplying exponentially in the liver and then in infected red blood cells;

  • Four species infect humans by entering the bloodstream via the bite of infected female mosquito which have ingested parasites that have undergone another reproductive phase inside the mosquito before being passed on to another human;

  • Malaria exists in 100 countries but is mainly confined to poorer tropical areas of Africa, Asia and Latin America with 90% of cases and the great majority of malaria deaths occurring in tropical Africa;

  • In 2002, the global number of people infected with malaria was 42.28 million, 20.02 million men and 22.256 million women. Malaria deaths totalled 1.124 million i.e 3.080 people per day. Around 90% of these deaths occur in Africa, mostly in young children. Malaria is Africa’s leading cause of under-five mortality (20%) and constitutes 10% of the continent’s overall disease burden. It accounts for 40% of public health expenditure, 30-50% of inpatient admissions, and up to 50% of outpatient visits in areas with high malaria transmission. It is a heavy death toll, especially amongst children and pregnant women;

  • Treatment and control have become more difficult with the spread of drug-resistant strains of parasites and insecticide-resistant strains of mosquito vectors. Insecticide-impregnated bednets are very efficient in reducing the exposure to mosquitoes. The choice of drugs depends on the resistance pattern in the area. The parasite is often resistant to classical drugs like Chloroquine Sulfadoxin-pyrimethamine,.To avoid resistance, use of combination drug (ex.mefloquine+pyrimethamine) is recommended. Severe or cerebral malaria is usually treated with injectable quinine. New drug like artemether was registered for treatment of severe malaria.

Additional resources

Contact points at the European Commission for EC research on malaria

Andreas.Holtel@ec.europa.eu 
Jeanne.Gervais@ec.europa.eu

 

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