Malaria is a life threatening parasitic disease transmitted by female anopheles mosquitoes. There are four types of human parasites; Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P ovale and P. falciparum. P. falciparum and P. vivax are the most common and P. falciparum, the most deadly type of infection, is most common in sub-Saharan Africa. A large number of environmental factors affect the distribution, seasonality and transmission intensity of malaria. Rainfall provides breeding sites for mosquitoes and increases the humidity, which enhances their survival. While malaria is largely endemic in Africa, varying proportion of countries in the continent are at risk of endemic malaria. Today, approximately 40% of the world population, mostly those living in the world's poorest countries, is at risk of malaria. This is mostly in the tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world. There are at least 300 million acute cases of malaria each year globally resulting in more than a million deaths, around 90% of these occur in Africa, mostly young children. In areas of stable malaria transmission, very young children and pregnant women are the population at highest risk for malaria morbidity and mortality. The populations most at risk of epidemics are those living in highlands, arid and desert-fringe zones and those living in areas where successful control measures have not been consolidated or maintained.
Key words: Epidemiology, Malaria, Africa
Afr. J. Clin. Exper. Microbiol. 2005; 6(2): 107 - 111