Why Malaria Isn’t Just a Tropical Disease

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Malaria is a global disease that we’ve beaten back around the world, including in some tropical places, but we’ve had the hardest time in Africa.

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To learn more, start your googling with these keywords:
Anthropophily: an organism’s propensity to feed on humans rather than other animals
Biogeography: the study of the distribution of species and organisms throughout space and time
Malaria Control: the reduction of malaria’s impacts to a locally acceptable level as a result of deliberate efforts. Continued intervention is required to sustain control.
Malaria Elimination: the interruption of local transmission (i.e. reducing the rate of malaria cases to zero) of a specified malaria parasite in a defined geographic area. Continued intervention is needed to prevent reestablishment of transmission.
Malaria Eradication: the permanent reduction to zero of the worldwide incidence of infection caused by human malaria parasites, after which intervention measures are no longer needed (e.g. as with smallpox, the only disease we’ve eradicated)

If you liked this week’s video, you might also like:
How the US CDC grew out of the “Office of Malaria Control in War Areas”:

Amazing animation of how different parts of the world become more or less suitable for malaria over the seasons:

Animated map of malaria’s shrinking distribution:

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Credits (and Twitter handles):
Script Writer: Alex Reich (@alexhreich)
Script Editor: Kate Yoshida (@KateYoshida)
Video Illustrator: Qingyang Chen (@QCVisual)
Video Director: Alex Reich (@alexhreich) & Emily Elert (@eelert)
Video Narrator: Emily Elert (@eelert)
With Contributions From: Henry Reich, Ever Salazar, Peter Reich, David Goldenberg
Music by: Nathaniel Schroeder:



Carter, R., & Mendis, K. N. 2002. Evolutionary and historical aspects of the burden of malaria. Clinical microbiology reviews, 15(4), 564-594.

Gething, P. W., et al. 2011. Modelling the global constraints of temperature on transmission of Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax. Parasites & vectors, 4(1), 92.

Hay, S. I., et al. 2004. The global distribution and population at risk of malaria: past, present, and future. The Lancet infectious diseases, 4(6), 327-336.

Lardeux, F. et al. 2007. Host choice and human blood index of Anopheles pseudopunctipennis in a village of the Andean valleys of Bolivia. Malaria journal, 6(1), 8.

United States CDC. 2018. Malaria: Biology.

World Health Organization. 2016. World malaria report 2015.

World Health Organization. 2016. Eliminating malaria. Geneva.