Mosquito-borne malaria is known to be widespread in tropical and subtropical areas, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Today (January 23, 2012) a multinational team of researchers is presenting the results of a two-year effort to assemble all available data worldwide on the risk of Plasmodium falciparum malaria, the most deadly form of the disease. Their results include new malaria maps showing the current global pattern of the disease and letting researchers see how malaria has changed over a number of years.
The researchers are with the Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust, and their study is being published in the Malaria Journal.
They used computer modeling and data on climate and human populations to create their maps, which also built on the first-ever Atlas of Malaria-Eliminating Countries 2011published earlier in 2012.
According to Wikipedia:
… there were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009. An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a 5% decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization’s 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with the majority of deaths being young children.
A press release issued today by the the Malaria Atlas Project said:
Malaria continues to exert an huge burden of illness and death worldwide but, after decades of neglect, the war against the disease has entered an unprecedented era: it is high on the policy agenda, international funding is beginning to translate into real increases in populations protected by bed nets and other key interventions, and a growing body of evidence points towards important reductions in illness and death.
The maps have been made freely available, along with a wide range of other malaria resources via the launch of a new online portal at www.map.ox.ac.uk.
Bottom line: The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), funded mainly by the Wellcome Trust, has published in the Malaria Journal showing the prevalence of malaria around the globe. It includes a new suite of maps, which are freely available here.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.