Understanding your personal Malaria Risk:
Each year the World Health Organisation publishes an annual Malaria Report – an extremely detailed quantitative and qualitative appraisal of the impact of malaria at country, regional and global level. In 2017 there were 219 million cases of malaria. (The 2018 data is due to be published in November 2019).
Despite malaria being considered endemic is 91 countries globally there are very highly elevated risks to travellers in sub-Saharan Africa, where 95% of all malaria deaths occur. This excerpt from the 2018 WHO Malaria Report highlights the risk:
“The WHO African Region accounted for 93% of all malaria deaths in 2017…. Nearly 80% of global malaria deaths in 2017 were concentrated in 17 countries in the WHO African Region and India; 7 of these countries accounted for 53% of all global malaria deaths: Nigeria (19%), Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%), Burkina Faso (6%), United Republic of Tanzania (5%), Sierra Leone (4%), Niger (4%) and India (4%).”
The map above highlights all countries in which there was at least 1 case of indigenously transmitted malaria 2016 (please note: this remains accurate in 2018).
(All data above is published by the World Health Organisation)
But this map can be slightly misleading for travel planning purposes because most malaria-risk countries have areas of high risk, low risk and negligible risk. There are also some seasonality aspects of malaria risk in many countries.
For example in many countries major cities often present a lower risk. In other countries the malaria risk is limited to small specific regions or just to the wet season. Knowing the exact malaria risk situation for the countries you are visiting can save you a lot of time, effort and expense if you are going to a negligible risk region of a malaria affected country.
Travellers therefore need to research deeper than just a world map in order to understand their own personal malaria risk for any upcoming travel.
Fortunately this information is very easy to research on the internet with just a few minutes of effort.
Here are some links that you may find useful: