• Four species of malaria parasites can infect humans under natural conditions: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. The first two species cause the most infections worldwide. Plasmodium falciparum is the agent of severe, potentially fatal malaria, caus-ing an estimated 700,000 – 2.7 million deaths annually, most of them in young children in Africa.
  • Infection with malaria parasites may result in a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from ab-sent or very mild symptoms to severe disease and even death.
  • Malaria is transmitted in tropical and sub-tropical areas.
  • The highest transmission is found in Africa South of the Sahara.
  • Malaria is one of the most severe public health problems worldwide. It is a leading cause of death and disease in many developing countries where young children and pregnant women are the groups most affected.
  • According to the World Health Organization’s World Malaria Report 2005: -At the end of 2004, some 3.2 billion people lived in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 107 countries and territories. -Between 350 and 500 million clinical episodes of malaria occur every year. At least one million deaths occur every year due to malaria. About 60% of the cases of malaria worldwide and more than 80% of the malaria deaths worldwide occur in Africa south of the Sahara.