Infectious Disease: Evolving Challenges to Human Health

The International Campaign against Malaria

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During the 20th century, intensive international eradication programs reduced malaria distribution around the world by half, from 53% of the Earth’s land surface to 27%.

Forty-four nations eradicated malaria through a cooperative multinational campaign. The campaign involved wide-area coverage with pesticides, use of anti-malarial drugs, and destruction of mosquito breeding sites. Most of the change occurred in temperate climate zones of the Americas, Europe, and Asia. The program stalled when mosquitoes started becoming resistant to the pesticide DDT. Today, malaria remains endemic and kills more people than ever before in tropical areas of Asia and the Americas, and in much of sub-Saharan Africa, which was never part of the global eradication effort.

Map of malaria distribution from 1900 - 2002 

Distribution of malaria from 1900 to 2002

This map shows the results of the intenational eradication programs during the 20th century. In 1900, malaria was found as far north as Boston and Moscow. Today malaria is endemic in the tropical areas of Asia, the Americas, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

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