Malaria in humans is caused by one of four protozoan species of the genus plasmodium; P.falciparum, P.vivax, P.ovale, P.malariae. All species (of plasmodium) are transmitted by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito.
- Each year, malaria causes 350-500 million infections worldwide and approximately one million deaths. Approximately 10,000 travelers per year acquire malaria. Malaria transmission occurs in large areas of Central and South America, parts of the Caribbean, Africa, Asia (including South Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East), Eastern Europe and the South Pacific.
- Risks vary substaintially from region to region with sub-Sahara Africa having the highest relative risk.
- Education, mosquito avoidance and appropriate chemoprophylaxis are crititcal elements in individual risk assessment for malaria prevention.