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Notice to Readers: World Malaria Day --- April 25, 2008

April 25, 2008, marks the first World Malaria Day. In previous years, Africa Malaria Day was commemorated on April 25, the date in 2000 when 44 African leaders met in Abuja, Nigeria, and signed the Abuja Declaration, committing their countries to cutting malaria deaths in half by 2010.

Malaria is a preventable and treatable parasitic disease, transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria continues to cause approximately 1 million deaths worldwide each year, with nearly 90% of these deaths occurring among young children in Africa (1).

The theme for World Malaria Day is A Disease Without Borders, reflecting the geographic expansion of the observance and serving as a reminder that malaria also affects other parts of the globe, including Asia, Central and South America, and Oceania. Although malaria has been eliminated from the United States, approximately 1,400 travelers from the United States return with malaria each year; on average, seven of these travelers will die from their infection (2).

An integrated package of effective interventions (i.e., a combination of insecticide-treated bed nets, antimalarial drugs to treat malaria illness, preventive treatment for pregnant women, and indoor residual spraying) can substantially decrease the burden of malaria in endemic areas. In recent years, the Roll Back Malaria Partnership, including the World Bank, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the President's Malaria Initiative (PMI), and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria, have joined together to fight malaria by scaling up the use of these interventions.

CDC contributes to malaria control through PMI, a U.S. government interagency initiative begun in 2005 to halve malaria deaths in 15 countries in sub-Saharan Africa (Angola, Benin, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Liberia, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Rwanda, Senegal, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia). PMI is led by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented jointly by CDC and USAID, in close collaboration with host ministries of health and other local and international partners in the public and private spheres. CDC also conducts programmatically relevant malaria research to serve as the basis for future malaria prevention and control strategies.

Additional information about World Malaria Day is available at http://www.rollbackmalaria.org/worldmalariaday. Information about malaria and CDC's malaria-control activities is available at http://www.cdc.gov/malaria. Information about PMI is available at http://www.pmi.gov.

References

  1. Bryce J, Boschi-Pinto C, Shibuya K, Black RE, WHO Child Health Epidemiology Reference Group. WHO estimates of the causes of death in children. Lancet 2005;365:1147--52.
  2. CDC. Malaria surveillance---United States, 2006. MMWR. In press 2008.

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Date last reviewed: 4/24/2008

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