Algeria and Argentina malaria-free

This item appears on page 19 of the July 2019 issue.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the countries of Algeria and Argentina to be malaria-free on May 22. On separate continents, both countries had not reported a single indigenous case of the disease in more than the three consecutive years required for the declaration. (Algeria had its last confirmed indigenous case in 2013 and Argentina, 2010.)

Malaria is caused by a single-celled protozoa and is spread by mosquitoes. Symptoms include high fevers, headache, muscle pain and nausea. According to WHO’s latest numbers, in 2017 more than 219 million people were infected with malaria, which killed at least 435,000 of them, making it the world’s deadliest disease. A malaria vaccine has been developed and is being tested in high-risk countries in Africa.