Malaria is a mosquito vector borne disease, which is cause by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. The parasites are transmitted during feeding by female Anopheles mosquitoes, and multiply in red blood cells.
Malaria is a preventable and cureable disease, although resistance to all available forms of treatment has emerged in some instances.
There were an estimated 881 000 (610 000–1 212 000) malaria deaths in 2006, of which 91% (801 000, range 520 000–1 126 000) were in Africa and 85% were of children under 5 years of age.
Eighty-six percent, or 212 million (with the wide uncertainy range of 152–287 million) cases, were in the African Region.
While some countries in Africa have achieved a 50% reduction in malaria cases since 2000, links between interventions and mortality and morbidity trends remain ambiguous in that region and elsewhere.
Access to malaria treatment, especially artemisinin-based combination therapy, was inadequate in all countries surveyed in 2006, despite a sharp increase in procurement of antimalarial medicines through public health services.
The WHO recommended focus for prevention and control is with long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs) and artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), plus a revival of support for indoor residual spraying of insecticide (IRS). Resistance to preferred insecticides for vector control is a huge challenge.