36 Malaria Statistics for Enhanced Protection in 2021

Malaria Statistics

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that has plagued humanity for centuries. Plasmodium parasites are the ones causing it. Then, female Anopheles mosquitoes spread the disease.

Malaria statistics indicate that this disease is a major public health problem around the globe. The following data serve the purpose of educating people about it. While some of the information below is positive and hopeful, it shouldn’t undermine the fact that this is a severe disease and a major global issue.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the essential stats on this dangerous disease.

 

Key Malaria Statistics for 2021

  • There were around 229 million cases of malaria across the world in 2019.
  • Six countries account for half of all malaria deaths in the world.
  • Since 2000, around 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been prevented.
  • COVID-19 could cause an excess of malaria deaths, WHO stats and predictions show.
  • Almost half of the world’s population is at risk of this disease, WHO data from 2019 shows.
  • Multivitamin supplements could boost the overall malaria survival rate.
  • In Nigeria, malaria accounts for 13% to 50% of all medical reasons for school absenteeism.
  • Total funding for controlling and eliminating the disease amounted to $3 billion in 2019.
  • Around 46% of people at risk of the disease in Africa were protected with an insecticide-treated net.
  • 2.7 billion malaria rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) were sold around the world from 2000 to 2019.

General Malaria Facts and Statistics

Now that we’ve seen how widely spread this disease is, it’s time to check out some general information and data on malaria.

1. Almost half of the world’s population is at risk of this disease, WHO data from 2019 shows. 

(WHO) (NCBI)

Malaria is a severe disease transmitted through a bite from an infected female mosquito. Typical symptoms include fever, chills, and flu-like sickness. The condition can be treated with prescription drugs, especially in the early stages. However, if not treated in time, patients could develop more severe symptoms, some of which could turn out to be fatal.

2. Facts about malaria reveal that two parasite species pose the greatest risk.

(WHO)

The parasites with the highest incidence include P. falciparum. It accounted for 99.7% of cases in Africa. There’s also P. vivax, commonly found in the Americas, where it is responsible for 75% of all malaria cases.

3. The malaria-carrying mosquito and the malaria parasite need particular conditions to thrive. 

(CDC)

Where is malaria found? No matter which type of Plasmodium parasite causes the disease, it needs a specific climate to develop. Incidentally, it’s one of the main reasons why malaria isn’t common in Europe, but it is so severe in areas like sub-Saharan Africa. The weather is hands down the key factor at play. It extends the average mosquito lifespan, as well as the lifespan of the parasite.

4. Children under the age of five are most vulnerable to the disease. 

(WHO)

Young children are most at risk for malaria, stats on malaria deaths in 2019 show. Namely, 274,000 children died from malaria in 2019, accounting for 67% of all deaths from the disease across the world. Children, especially young kids, have not yet developed a robust immune system. That, in turn, makes them the most vulnerable target for the disease.

5. In addition to mosquitoes, malaria can spread via contaminated blood.

(CDC)

How does malaria spread? Malaria isn’t just transmitted by mosquitoes. All it takes to get infected is for the parasite to enter your bloodstream. That can occur either through mosquito bites or through blood transfusions and organ donation. One also has to steer clear of syringes and needles that were exposed to malaria.

Global Malaria Statistics 

Despite efforts to reduce malaria incidence, this disease continues to affect millions of people worldwide. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most relevant global statistics regarding this severe disease.

6. Six countries account for half of all malaria deaths in the world. 

(WHO)

According to malaria statistics by country, all of them are in Africa. Countries with high malaria death rates include Nigeria (23%), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), and the United Republic of Tanzania (5%). Burkina Faso, Mozambique, and Niger round off the list with 4% of deaths each.

7. There were around 229 million cases of malaria across the world in 2019. 

(WHO)

According to the data published in 2020, there were 229 million cases of malaria recorded the previous year, up from 228 million in 2018. Note that there is a slight increase in malaria infection rates between 2018 and 2019. However, the number of cases is still lower than the 231 million reported in 2017 and the 251 million cases registered seven years earlier.

8. The African region accounts for 94% of all 2019 cases and deaths.

(WHO) (CDC)

Africa continues to be home to a disproportionately high number of malaria cases and deaths. One of the causes of malaria in Africa is local weather conditions combined with social and economic instability. Another is the prevalence of an efficient type of mosquito. The mosquito is responsible for high transmission rates and a large number of fatalities.

9. 409,000 people died from malaria last year.

(WHO)

How many people have died from malaria? Statistics on malaria in Africa show that the malaria mortality rate has been slowing down since 2016. In fact, the number of total deaths across the world reduced from  411,000 in 2018 to 409,000 a year later. The African region saw the biggest decrease in malaria deaths, going down from 533,000 in 2010 to 380,000 in 2018.

10. Since 2000, around 1.5 billion malaria cases and 7.6 million deaths have been prevented.

(BMJ)

The first decade of this century witnessed exceptional progress in battling the disease. It was incredibly efficient in the sub-Saharan region. Not only did the yearly number of cases remain steady since 2016, but malaria data shows that 1.5 billion cases and almost 8 million deaths were averted.

11. COVID-19 could cause an increase in malaria deaths, WHO stats and predictions show. 

(BMJ)

The WHO estimates a 10% disruption in distribution and access to antimalarial treatment because of COVID-19. That could lead to 19,000 deaths in the sub-Saharan region. Even more disturbing, a 25% to 50% disruption may further increase mortality rates. The estimates range from 46,000 to 100,000 deaths, respectively.

12. There are around 1,500 malaria cases in the US every year.

(CDC)

Malaria in the US is pretty much nonexistent. The cases trace back to travelers who have visited sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, as well as immigrants hailing from these regions. The number of deaths is even lower — only five people a year die from this disease in the US.

13. India contributed to the biggest reduction of the number of cases in Southeast Asia. 

(WHO)

Statistics on the global distribution of malaria reveal that India noted the highest decrease. The country saw the cases go down from 20 million in 2000 to around 5.6 million in 2019. Overall, Southeast Asia registered a reduction in the number of malaria incidence. It now accounts for around 3% of the global burden of malaria cases.

14. Several campaigns implemented in Haiti to combat malaria have provided dramatic results. 

(CDC) (Nothing But Nets)

CDC, the Global Fund, the National Malaria Control Program, and Malaria Zero have managed to lower the number of cases in Haiti by 50%. Based on malaria stats, this was the lowest incidence rate recorded in this island nation in the past 50 years.

15. Venezuela had the highest number of malaria cases (404,924) in the Latin America region.

(Statista)

Brazil (194,512 cases in 2018), Colombia (63,143), and Peru (45,619 cases) come right after. All these countries have regions in the Amazon rainforest, where most malaria cases occur. That is why the disease is still considered endemic in these countries. In contrast, the rest of the region has either eliminated the disease or is in the elimination phase.

16. Historical malaria facts show that the disease was eradicated in Europe by the 1970s.

(Clinical Microbiology and Infection)

This success was partly due to the unfavorable climate, as well as the combo of insecticide spraying and anti-malaria drug therapy. However, there is a risk of the disease reappearing. Massive migrant and refugee influx into European countries might contribute to it. Changing climate conditions are likely to play their role too.

17. Malaria costs around $12 billion per year in direct expenses. 

(CDC)

These costs are not centered on prevention but rather on the disease, treatment, and premature deaths. The actual cost of lost economic growth (and, of course, in human lives) is substantial and difficult to calculate.

Malaria Facts and Stats in Africa

As mentioned above, Africa carries the biggest share of the global burden of the disease. Nevertheless, there has been some remarkable progress made. Namely, the progress towards reducing morbidity and mortality in the region.

Let’s see what stats have to say.

18. Malaria statistics reveal that malaria deaths in the African region decreased by 44%.

(WHO)

The malaria death rate in Africa reduced significantly, declining from 680,000 in 2000 to 384,000 last year. The mortality rate also went down by 67% from 2000 to 2019, i.e., from 121 deaths per 100,000 people to 40 deaths.

19. Most of the cases and deaths averted occurred in the African region. 

(WHO)

In the last two decades, the majority of the cases and deaths averted took place in Africa. The latest data from the WHO on malaria rates in Africa shows that 82% of cases and 94% of deaths were prevented in the African region.

20. Malaria accounts for 13% to 50% of all medical reasons for school absenteeism.

(NCBI)

A study in Kenya indicates that this disease results in 4 to 10 million lost days of school. When it comes to malaria in Nigeria, statistics show that children miss an average of three days of school per episode annually. That, in turn, accounts for 2% to 8% of all episodes of school absenteeism.

21. In 2020, 68% of households in Africa had an insecticide-treated mosquito net. 

(WHO)

That is up from just 5% in 2000. The number of children protected by ITN increased from 3% to 52%. So did the number of protected pregnant women, stats on malaria from 2000 to 2019 show. As more children get to sleep under an ITN, there is hope that this disease will no longer be the leading cause of death among kids in the sub-Saharan region.

22. Nigeria had the highest number of malaria cases and deaths in 2018. 

(Severe Malaria Observatory)

In 2018, Nigeria accounted for 25% of cases and 24% of deaths worldwide. The disease is present all over the country, malaria in Nigeria facts reveal, with 76% of the population living in high transmission areas. What’s more, the transmission season lasts 365 days a year in the south or around three months in the northern parts of the country. Thus, it is further increasing infection rates.

23. The DRC has the second-highest number of malaria cases and deaths.

(Severe Malaria Observatory)

Malaria is the leading cause of morbidity and mortality in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Note that the malaria case burden dropped by 4%, and the malaria death rate declined by almost 10%. Despite all that, the disease continues to affect the population, especially children. In fact, malaria was responsible for 19% of deaths among children under the age of five in 2016. What’s more, around 47% of malaria episodes occurred among children of this age.

24. Malaria prevalence in Kenya has decreased from 11% to 8% between 2010 and 2015.

(WHO) (President’s Malaria Initiative)

When it comes to malaria in Kenya, statistics are relatively positive. Measures like education, better infrastructure, and malaria mosquito elimination have all yielded fruit. Between 2010 and 2015, the prevalence of the disease has decreased to 8%, and the mortality caused by malaria in children under five has dropped by 55%.

25. The number of deaths from malaria in Ethiopia reduced by 54% since 2000.

(NCBI)

In 2016, there were around 3 million new malaria cases, resulting in roughly 4,782 deaths. That is a considerably lower number compared to the record-breaking 10,412 deaths registered in 2000. As is the case with other African countries, in Ethiopia, children under the age of five are the most affected.

26. According to malaria in Uganda statistics, the disease is endemic in 95% of the country.  

(Ministry of Health of Uganda)

What’s more, it affects 90% of the population. Astoundingly, Uganda has the sixth-highest number of malaria deaths per year. It also has one of the highest transmission rates in the world. That said, the disease is devastating not only to the wellbeing of the population but also to the economy. A single episode of the disease costs a family $9, or 3%, of their annual income.

27. Malaria in Ghana statistics show that mortality and morbidity rates declined by more than 50%. 

(Malaria Journal)

Despite a drop in the number of cases and deaths from 2005 to 2015, this African country still faces an overwhelming malaria burden. It’s further put under increasing risk due to reductions in external financing. Following this, the total costs to eliminate the disease in Ghana could reach up to $961 million between 2020 and 2029. If successful, malaria elimination may avert 85.5 million cases, 4,468 deaths, and $2.2 billion in health costs.

Combating the Disease: Malaria Stats and Figures

This section will deal with the global response to the disease. That includes all the key milestones reached, advances in treatment. We will also cover malaria prevention and diagnostic tools.

28. Total funding for controlling and eliminating the disease amounted to $3 billion in 2019. 

(WHO)

According to 2019 malaria statistics, the largest share of the money invested in 2019 ($2.1 billion) came from international funders. The US government was the largest contributor providing $1.1 billion through bilateral funding and donations from funding agencies.

29. 73% of the money invested in 2019 went to the African region. 

(WHO)

As the region that carries the heaviest burden of the disease, Africa received most of the funding. Only 9% of the investment went to Southeast Asia. Other 5% went to the Americas and the Western Pacific region and 4% to the Eastern Mediterranean region.

30. Nearly $7.3 billion has been invested in basic research and product development.

(WHO)

Statistics about malaria reveal that most of the money, or 36% of annual funding invested in malaria R&D, goes to the development of drugs. Expenses on basic research amount to $1.9 billion, or 26% of total funding, whereas $1.8 billion was spent on the vaccine R&D.

31. As of 2019, 21 countries have eliminated malaria, malaria statistics disclose.

(ReliefWeb)

Elimination of the disease occurs when the local transmission of specific parasites in a defined geographical region has been interrupted by prevention activities. According to WHO, 21 countries have eliminated the disease, 10 of which are now certified malaria-free.

32. An insecticide-treated net is one of the most successful ways to reduce malaria deaths per year

(WHO)

Indoor residual spraying with insecticides is another. Across the world, IRS protection peaked in 2010 and declined to 2% in 2019 in all regions, except the Eastern Mediterranean. Declines in IRS coverage are the result of countries switching to costlier alternatives.

33. 2.7 billion malaria RDTs were sold around the world from 2000 to 2019. 

(WHO)

Almost 80% of the rapid diagnostic test sales took place in sub-Saharan countries, stats on malaria show. National malaria programs, on the other hand, distributed 1.9 billion RDTs in the same region. That, in turn, promoted fast diagnosis and timely treatment, which leads to a reduced incidence of the disease.

34. There is only one effective vaccine that can reduce malaria incidence among African children.

(WHO)

The vaccine prevented around four in ten cases among children who received four doses as part of clinical trials. Following this, Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi implemented a pilot vaccination and immunization program. The countries hope it will further reduce mortality rates.

35. Multivitamin supplements could boost the overall malaria survival rate.

(NCBI)

Studies show that proper multivitamin supplementation could reduce malaria incidence in women of reproductive age. Multivitamins have already been proven to reduce the progression of HIV. Note that it commonly occurs along with malaria infections. Nevertheless, we need more research to include supplements as part of treating HIV-positive women exposed to malaria.

36. Ingested curcumin could reduce blood parasitemia by 80%–90%, decreasing malaria rates.

(Malaria Matters)

Consuming quality turmeric supplements may reduce blood parasitemia, i.e., the quantitative content of parasites in the blood, by 80% to 90%. Although the study was only carried on mice infected with malaria parasites (Plasmodium berghei), there are still promising results that this herb could increase survival rates.

Bottom Line 

Despite the efforts to reduce the malaria mortality rate, the disease still claims lives and causes economic damage. That said, there is a glimmer of hope. Continued education on prevention, funding treatment efforts, and combined response from endemic countries and international players will go a long way towards eradicating this deadly disease.

FAQs

What is malaria?

Malaria is a severe and possibly deadly disease.

If you’re wondering, “is malaria a virus or is it a bacteria,” the answer is neither. It is actually caused by a parasite commonly found in a specific type of mosquito that feeds on humans. Usually, people are infected when bitten by an infected female Anopheles mosquito, the only kind that can transmit the disease. However, infection is also possible when a person comes into contact with infected blood.

What does malaria do?

Symptoms of malaria are very similar to the flu. Signs range from fever and headaches to body aches and fatigue. Some patients might also experience nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. In severe cases, malaria could cause anemia and jaundice. If symptoms are not treated in time, they could lead to kidney failure, seizures, coma, and eventually death.

Where is malaria most common?

Malaria is usually found in tropical and subtropical countries, where high temperatures enable the Anopheles mosquito to thrive. It’s typically found in Africa, South Asia, as well as parts of Central and South America and the Caribbean. Poor and developing countries are more at risk due to a lack of proper healthcare and prevention programs.

Which population is most affected by malaria?

Most victims of malaria are those who have little to no immunity against malaria. These groups include children, usually under five years of age, pregnant women, and travelers or migrants coming from areas with high transmission rates.

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