Malaria is a disease caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium which is transmitted by female Anopheline mosquitoes.


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Vector control is crucial in the fight against malaria and it has been ever since the discovery of the transmission of the disease by mosquitoes. Vector control programs have resulted in the elimination of malaria from areas where it was once common (e.g. in the U.S. and parts of Europe) and techniques such as Indoor Residual Spraying (IRS), elimination of breeding sites and the use of insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs & LLINs: Long-lasting insecticidal mosquito nets) remain important in areas where malaria transmission still occurs today.

As a result of scale up interventions such as vector control, recent progress has been made in the fight against malaria. Between 2015 and 2000 malaria incidence rates fell by 37% globally and mortality rates fell by 60%. Mortality rates in children fell by 65% worldwide between 2000 and 2015. It is estimated that 3.3 million lives have been saved since the year 2000 (including 3 million children) and about 500 million cases averted.  In 2014 it is estimated that there were more than 200 million long-lasting insecticide treated nets distributed to those at risk from the disease and about 120 million people were protected using indoor residual spraying.

Approximately 30 – 40 species of Anopheles mosquito are regarded as significant vectors of malaria around the world. Understanding the biology and behaviour of each of these different species can help understand how malaria is transmitted and can aid in designing appropriate control strategies (e.g. certain species may prefer to rest indoors after a blood meal while others may rest outdoors and such behaviour could influence the effectiveness of indoor residual spraying).

Did You Know?
Male mosquitoes do not take blood meals and hence are not responsible for spreading disease.