CDC and Malaria

Activities in the United States

 CDC helped eliminate malaria as a major public health problem in the United States in the early 1950s. However, approximately 2,000 cases of malaria are reported each year in the United States, mostly in returning travelers and immigrants (“imported” malaria). Anopheles mosquitoes capable of transmitting malaria (“vectors”) exist in the United States. Thus, there is a constant risk that malaria transmission can resume in the United States.

To continue to prevent illness and deaths due to malaria, CDC works within this country:

    • Administering the National Malaria Surveillance System;
    • Investigating instances of locally transmitted malaria (e.g., transfusion malaria);
    • Preventing malaria among international travelers;
    • Consulting with clinicians, providing advice on the diagnosis and treatment of malaria in the United States;
    • Advising blood collection centers.

International Activities

CDC has a long history of collaboration with Ministries of Health and other partners to fight malaria. CDC provides technical expertise in policy development, program guidance and support, scientific research, and monitoring and evaluation of progress toward Roll Back Malaria goals. CDC also conducts strategically targeted research to ensure that we are prepared to confront the changes in malaria epidemiology that have resulted as a consequence of factors such as the recent scale-up of malaria interventions, climate change, and population movement.

CDC continues to build on this base of strategically targeted research and program implementation through work on the President’s Malaria Initiative, an ambitious interagency initiative designed to halve the burden of malaria in 70 percent of at-risk populations in sub-Saharan Africa and address issues of antimalarial drug resistance and conduct drug quality surveillance in the Greater Mekong Subregion in Asia.

More on: Malaria Worldwide

More on: CDC & The President’s Malaria Initiative


CDC’s malaria research program aims to improve our understanding of malaria and to yield better methods for fighting the disease. Research often is conducted in collaboration with other institutions and combines field and laboratory activities.

Field investigations provide insights in mechanisms of transmission and host responses. They often yield specimens that provide valuable information when studied further in laboratories in the United States and overseas.

The laboratories (augmented by insectaries and animal facilities) conduct more basic studies, whose findings can be in turn verified or expanded during field investigations. CDC’s malaria research laboratories serve as a WHO Collaborating Center for malaria.

More on: CDC’s Research on Tools For Tomorrow