Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female mosquitoes. Malaria can be prevented.
In 2016, there are an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, an increase of 5 million from 2015. The total number of malaria deaths in 2016 reached 445,000, which is basically the same as the 2015 figure (446,000).
The WHO Africa region accounts for a high proportion of the global malaria burden. In 2016, the region accounted for 90% of the total number of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. These parasites are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes known as "malaria vectors." A total of five parasites cause human malaria, with Plasmodium falciparum and P. vivax being the most harmful.
Plasmodium falciparum is the most common malaria parasite on the African continent. It causes most malaria deaths worldwide. In most countries outside sub-Saharan Africa, Plasmodium vivax is the major malaria parasite.