Malaria Outbreaks


What is the largest outbreak in the world from malaria?


Most parts of the world don’t suffer from malaria “outbreaks” in the traditional sense of the world. Instead, malaria is “endemic,” which means that transmission is on-going all of the time. In some cases, transmission is seasonal, but each year’s level of disease incidence is similar to the next year’s. Having said this, despite no major and obvious “outbreaks” malaria has probably killed more people in history than any other disease.

Outbreaks of malaria do occur in places where malaria is not usually found, though these are usually small and isolated. For example, while Jamaica was previously malaria free, an outbreak in 2006/2007 resulted in 370 cases. By the end of 2007, it had been declared malaria-free once more, as transmission was interrupted. In 2002, a man with Plasmodium vivax caused an outbreak among 10 fellow campers at a camp site in Northern Queensland, Australia. In the US in 2008, almost a thousand cases of malaria were reported, though most of those were imported cases from travellers who had recently returned from malaria endemic areas, and therefore did not get infected within the US.