Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes. P. falciparum is the most deadly malaria parasite and the most prevalent in Africa, where malaria cases and deaths are heavily concentrated. The first symptoms of malaria – fever, headache, chills and vomiting – usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. Without prompt treatment, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness and death.
WHO recommends a multi-pronged strategy to prevent, control and eliminate malaria. Key interventions include: the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying, diagnostic testing, and treatment of confirmed cases with effective anti-malarial medicines. In recent years, these measures have dramatically lowered the malaria burden in many settings. Malaria transmission continues in many countries around the world however, and causes hundreds of thousands of deaths each year.