Recently more readers are asking where is malaria most common. Malaria is a tropical disease that normally spread by infected female anopheles mosquitoes. It leads to fatal results if not treated. Knowing where malaria is most common is important since it allows you to take the necessary preventive measures when travelling to a malaria prone zone.
CDC has a list of all places there malaria transmission occurs in the entire world. They also have a database of the best prevention drugs to take for each place. There’s a wide range of antimalarial drugs available and you can find them in any health center or pharmacy. Ensure that you consult a health provider who will be able to administer the best drug for you. This is usually based on drug allergies, medical history, pregnancy status and travel plans among other factors. Doctors advise to take these medications 4 to 6 weeks before travelling. Other preventive measures include protecting yourself from mosquito bites and carrying standby treatment for malaria when travelling to remote malaria-prone regions. In case of infection, seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Areas with high malaria prevalence
Malaria occurs in all continents and affects more than 100 countries across the world. Most of these countries fall in the tropical and subtropical regions of the world. This mainly consists of South and Central America, Oceania, Africa, the Caribbean, Middle East and Southeast Asia.
Transmission of malaria in subtropical regions only occurs when the climatic conditions are favorable. On the other hand, malaria transmission in tropical areas takes place all year round. High temperatures and availability of water are the main conditions that favor the development and growth of malaria spreading mosquitoes. Data on malaria prevalence is hard to compare. This is mainly because most malaria deaths occur in informal health centers, at home or private clinics. As a result, government records have a vague representation of the real implications of malaria.
According to WHO, more than 90% of malaria cases go unreported. Data systems are weakest in places where malaria is most prevalent. Almost half of all malaria cases in the world occur in Southeast Asia. Malaria is more common in Africa especially in countries located south of the Sahara. Political instability and scarce resources make it hard to create solid programs for malaria control. In addition, malaria parasites in these regions are more resistant to antimalarial drugs. However in some African countries malaria only exists in rural areas. Countries in Africa with accurate data on malaria patients include Uganda, Kenya, Republic of Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Ivory Coast, Angola, and Burkina Faso. Most malaria deaths occur in Africa.
The highest cases of malaria outside Africa are found in the Solomon Islands and Yemen.
Climatic conditions that favor the spread of malaria
Malaria greatly relies on climatic factors such as humidity rainfall and temperature. The conditions determine whether the female anopheles mosquitoes are able to survive and even multiply. They also determine whether the malaria parasites are able to complete their extrinsic incubation periods(growth period).
Malaria transmission stops when temperature is below 20 C (68 F). This is because plasmodium falciparum the parasite that causes severe malaria, can’t complete its growth cycle in the mosquitoes in such low temperatures. That’s why even in countries with a high malaria prevalence, transmission doesn’t occur in the extreme temperatures. The areas with deserts and high altitudes do not experience the spread of malaria.
However, it has been noted that transmission is more prevalent in warmer regions that are closer to the equator and it occurs all year round. Transmission is less intense and seasonal in cooler regions. Some countries have successfully interrupted malaria transmission through successful control and elimination programs. However, these countries are at a high risk of reintroduction of malaria. Hopefully, this won’t be the case.
Malaria is a dangerous disease but it doesn’t always have to lead to death. With the right control and preventive measures, it is possible to dramatically cut the rate of malaria transmission across the world. The medical field is working hard to come up with an effective malaria vaccine. In the meantime, educate yourself about where malaria is most common and take preventing measurements while visiting these areas.