Editorials

Fighting malaria

BMJ 1997; 314 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.314.7096.1707 (Published 14 June 1997) Cite this as: BMJ 1997;314:1707

A new campaign for the next millenium

  1. Graham Brown, Heada
  1. a Division of Infection and Immunity, The Walter and Eliza Hall Institute of Medical Research, The Royal Melbourne Hospital, Victoria 3050, Australia

    In the centenary year of Ronald Ross's discovery that malaria was transmitted by anopheline mosquitoes, it is reasonable to ask why we are still so far from controlling this dreaded disease. Malariologists were quick to apply the fruits of his discovery, reducing vector populations by eliminating breeding sites and later advocating application of cheap effective insecticides to reduce transmission in areas of high population density. Extraordinary progress was made, and malaria was eradicated from many countries. Such was the optimism that many believed it would be possible to eradicate malaria with the technology and knowledge available in the mid 1950s. Unfortunately, little impact was made in rural areas of the most severely affected countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Today, malaria is a public health problem in more than 90 countries, inhabited by 40% of the world's population, and is responsible for up to 500 million clinical episodes and 2.7 million deaths a year, predominantly in young children in sub-Saharan Africa.1 Some successful control programmes have broken down because of cost and organisational reasons but also because of the emergence of resistance to dicophane (DDT). Malaria has returned in epidemic proportions in many countries, causing high morbidity and high mortality in …

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