The World Health Organization recently published the World Malaria Report 2018, providing an update on global and regional malaria data and trends. It tracks investments in malaria programmes and research as well as progress across all intervention areas – prevention, diagnosis, treatment and surveillance – and also includes dedicated chapters on malaria elimination and key threats in the fight against malaria.
The report highlights that no significant progress in reducing global malaria cases has been made in the period 2015-17, despite the fact that there were around 20 million fewer malaria cases in 2017 (219 million in 90 countries) than in 2010. In addition, most malaria cases in 2017 were in the WHO African Region (200 million or 92 per cent), followed by the WHO South-East Asia Region (five per cent) and the WHO Eastern Mediterranean Region (two per cent). The report also states that 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carried almost 80 per cent of the global malaria burden. Five countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25 per cent), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11 per cent), Mozambique (five per cent), India (four per cent) and Uganda (four per cent).
WHO advises international travellers that they could be at risk of malaria infection in 91 countries around the world, mainly in Africa, Asia and the Americas. People infected with malaria often experience fever, chills and flu-like illness at first and, left untreated, the disease can lead to severe complications and even death. The first line of defence against the disease is the prevention of mosquito bites between dusk and dawn by sleeping under long-lasting insecticidal nets and using protective clothing and insect repellent. WHO said that before travelling to malaria-endemic countries or regions, travellers should consult their national disease control centres, or other institutions offering travel advice, for information regarding the preventative measures that should be taken.