REVIEW – January 2005

Epidemiological situation with morbidity of malaria


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In 1955 the eradication of malaria seemed within reach. Less than 50 years later malaria is resurgent, causing an increasing number of infections across an expanded geographic range. Malaria has reappeared in countries where it had been eradicated 50 years ago. It is the most common and deadly parasitic disease, and one of the top three killer diseases along with tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS. Every year, hundreds of millions of malaria infections occur and 3 million people die of the disease. Four parasites cause malaria: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and  P. malariae. Of these, P. falciparum is the most common species in the tropical regions, responsible for at least 90% of malaria deaths. Since 1969, cases of airport malaria has been reported from Western Europe. During the last two years increase in local malaria has been observed in Russia. In Estonia, the two last deaths from malaria were reported in 1995. There is a potential threat for local and airport malaria in Estonia as well, although during the last decade there have been reported only a few cases of imported malaria and no local malaria in Estonia.