World Malaria Day 2019

Updates from the CDC Center for Global Health

April 25, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

Today, April 25, marks World Malaria DayExternal, bringing awareness about this deadly disease. This year’s theme, “Zero Malaria Starts with Me,” reminds each of us of the role we can play, individually and collectively, to help achieve a world free of mala

The charge is a familiar one to those of us at CDC. We have a long history fighting malaria from our beginning as an agency for Malaria Control in War Areas, designed to help keep the southeast U.S. malaria-free during World War II, to the establishment of the CDC on July 1, 1946. By the late 1940s, malaria was eliminated in the U.S. Since then we have worked to help others control and eliminate malaria as well.

The work by CDC and committed global partners has helped to save an estimated 7 million lives since 2001, thanks to vigorous expansion of proven malaria interventions and the collective efforts of public health and political leaders in countries where malaria remains a serious threat. Contributions by the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative External(PMI), Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and MalariaExternal, and the Roll Back MalariaExternal partnership have been paramount to the gains we have achieved.

Paraguay was certified by WHO as malaria free in 2018, while Algeria, Argentina and Uzbekistan have made formal requests to WHO for certification. In 2017, China and El Salvador reported zero indigenous cases.

While there has been real progress, we cannot let our guard down.

An estimated 3.2 billion people, almost half the world’s population, across 91 countries or territories are still at risk of malaria. Malaria killed an estimated 435,000 people and caused 219 million people to become ill in 2017. Fifteen countries in sub-Saharan Africa and India carry almost 80% of the global malaria burden, and five countries accounted for nearly half of all malaria cases worldwide: Nigeria (25%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Mozambique (5%), India (4%) and Uganda (4%).

The human and economic costs of malaria – estimated to be at least US$ 12 billion per year – are devastating and real. Today, despite the advances and documented successes, malaria remains a major killer of children under five years, taking the life of a child every two minutes.

Even in the United States, the disease continues to threaten the health of U.S. travelers, military, and citizens living abroad, with more than 1,700 imported cases diagnosed annually. CDC monitors malaria in the United States, provides prevention guidance for travelers, and improves clinical care of people in the United States who are infected with malaria. Just this past month, CDC issued new guidance to clinicians for the treatment of severe malaria in the U.S., about 300 cases per year, and has taken concrete actions to ensure that critical, appropriate treatment (with intravenous artesunate) is available to treat the estimated 300 persons who are diagnosed with severe malaria in the U.S. each year.

In addition, CDC’s world-class scientists are fully committed to using rigorous science and disease surveillance techniques to end this epidemic worldwide. In collaboration with U.S. and global partners, our experts are working to end malaria, by:

  • Expanding coverage and optimizing effectiveness of proven malaria control strategies, including long-lasting insecticidal nets (LLINs)rapid diagnostics tests (RDTs), optimal treatment (for example, artemisinin combination therapy (ACT)), and intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy (IPTp) through co-implementation of the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI).
  • Transforming real-time surveillance for diagnostically confirmed malaria cases into a core malaria intervention in endemic countries as recommended in the WHO Global Technical Strategy for Malaria, 2016–2030External.
  • Advancing scientific research to improve and develop the most effective tools and approaches for malaria surveillance, diagnostics and vector and non-vector prevention efforts; mitigate the threat from drug and insecticide resistance; and evaluate promising new interventions, such as vaccines and mass drug administration, where appropriate.
  • Leading a consortium of malaria partners, supported by funding from The Bill and Melinda Gates FoundationExternal, to accelerate elimination of malaria in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the last remaining malaria-endemic countries in the Caribbean. These efforts will help create a malaria-free zone and help malaria elimination in the Americas, as well as offer valuable lessons for eliminating malaria in other settings.

As we reflect upon the theme for this year, we recognize that zero malaria starts with us. CDC experts remain committed to using rigorous science and quality disease surveillance approaches to ensure early detection, confirmation, treatment, and prevention of malaria around the world. Individuals also lead by example, following recommendations for prophylaxis and avoiding mosquito bites during international travel, and as appropriate helping to advise others to do the same.

As we mark World Malaria Day, we ask you to join us in a renewed commitment to end malaria and invite you to help share the message (including using our fact sheetsinfographics, and social media cards) that the fight against the global health threat of malaria starts with each and everyone one of us.

With continued vigilance and commitment, together we can achieve a world with zero malaria.


/Rebecca Martin/
Rebecca Martin, PhD
Director, Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/Monica Parise/
Monica Parise, MD
Director, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

/Meghna Desai/
Meghna Desai, PhD, MPH
Chief, Malaria Branch
Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria
Center for Global Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Page last reviewed: April 25, 2019
Content source: Global Health