Key Facts

Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium of which there are five species infective to humans: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. knowlesi. It is transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

In 2015, there was transmission in 95 countries putting 3.2 billion people, approximately half of the world’s population, at risk. However, between 2000 and 2015, the incidence of malaria fell by 37%.

In the same period malaria death rates among populations at risk fell by 60% globally across all age groups and by 65% in children under the age of five years.

Sub-saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of global malaria accounting for 88% of the cases and 90% of the deaths.  

Children under the age of five years, pregnant women and people with HIV/AIDS living in endemic areas are most at risk. Other groups include non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travellers.