CDC Malaria Program

Malaria is spread by the bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito. The disease can cause fever, chills, and flu-like illness. If it is not treated, it can cause severe complications and death.

Malaria remains a preventable cause of serious illness and death worldwide, including in the United States

  • 3.2 billion people – almost half the world’s population – are at risk
  • 241 million people became ill from malaria in 2020 across 87 countries
  • 627,000 people died from malaria in 2020
  • $12 billion lost per year in economic productivity in Africa alone

Malaria is still a threat to American travelers, military personnel, and citizens living and working abroad. Typically, about 2,000 malaria cases are diagnosed each year in the United States.

DEMONSTRATED SUCCESS

Malaria’s toll would be much higher without the efforts of the U.S. Government, including CDC, and other global partners.
 
  • With the massive scale-up of malaria prevention and treatment interventions
  • Globally, more than 10 million lives were saved since 2000
  • Malaria deaths in Africa were reduced by 36% between 2000 and 2020

CDC’s EFFORTS

CDC provides scientific leadership and innovation to fight malaria, working hand in hand with Ministries of Health, other U.S. Government agencies, and partners.
 
  • Providing scientific leadership and technical assistance to guide countries and partners
  • Improving data quality and accessibility for use in decisionmaking
  • Scaling up interventions through the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)
  • Conducting innovative research to improve diagnostics, antimalarial drugs, vaccines, and tools to control mosquitoes
  • Preventing, treating, and tracking malaria in the United States

SPOTLIGHT ON KEY CDC ACTIVITIES

  • Serves as a World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Center for Prevention and Control of Malaria and participates on advisory and technical working groups to inform and improve global programs
  • Tracks reported malaria cases to prevent re-introduction to the United States, provides guidance to travelers, and advises physicians on prevention, diagnosis, and treatment
  • Co-implements PMI with U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and advises on surveillance, monitoring and evaluation, vector control, and research
  • Assesses pilot implementation of a new malaria vaccine (RTS,S) in western Kenya
  • Operates a state-of-the-art insectary to help understand mosquito behavior and how to control the spread of malaria, and tracks distribution of insecticide resistance
  • Supports development of diagnostic tools, builds capacity of states and countries to diagnose malaria, and evaluates malaria rapid diagnostic tests from various manufacturers for compliance with standards, preferred practices for labeling, and instructions for use
  • Monitors an emerging threat, Anopheles stephensi, a mosquito that has crossed from Southern Asia to Eastern Africa and threatens to reverse progress towards global malaria elimination

WHAT’S NEEDED

  • Enhanced efforts to prevent malaria in travelers and ensuring timely diagnosis and treatment of all cases of malaria in the United States
  • Continued scale-up in countries hardest hit by malaria, with insecticide-treated nets, indoor spraying, effective diagnostics and treatment, and prevention in pregnant women
  • Improved surveillance systems to monitor progress and targeting interventions to where they are most needed and evaluate impact
  • Monitoring and mitigating of threats from insecticide and drug resistance
  • Evaluation of new vaccines, diagnostic case management, and vector control tools
  • Targeted strategies to reduce and interrupt transmission to achieve elimination

FOR MORE INFORMATION
To learn more about CDC’s work to prevent, control, and eliminate parasitic diseases, visit www.cdc.gov/malaria

Page last reviewed: April 21, 2022