Two countries, Algeria in North Africa and Argentina in South America have been declared 'malaria-free' by the World Health Organization
The World Health Organization (WHO) declared Argentina and Algeria ‘malaria-free’ in May 2019. This is a significant development in the fight against the mosquito-borne disease. Both of them are only second countries in their respective region to be officially deemed malaria free by the world health organisation (WHO). A country is certified ‘free’ of a disease on proving it interrupted indigenous transmission for at least 3 consecutive years. Algeria and Argentina reported their last cases of indigenous malaria in 2013 and 2010 respectively. Both had a history of malaria spanning centuries. Malaria used to be huge problem for Algeria, there used to be 80,000 cases per year till 1960, gradually it dropped to 2800 by 2000. However, most of the deaths caused by malaria globally are in Africa. Therefore, this a historic achievement for Algeria to be malaria free, Mauritius is the other country in Africa which is malaria free. Argentina is also only the second in the Latin Americas to be malaria free in the last 4 decades, Paraguay is the other country in the region which was recognised malaria free last year.
WHO, so far, has declared 38 countries and territories malaria-free. But the disease is making a comeback worldwide. There were an estimated 219 mln cases of malaria in 2017, leading to 0.4 mln deaths in 2017.
Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted through the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and treatable.
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