The female anopheles mosquito. (Picture by James Gathany)
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Malaria is transmitted through the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito.
There are around 30 species of Anopheles mosquito which can spread malaria, and they tend to bite between dusk and dawn.
According to the latest world malaria report released in December 2019, there were 228 million cases of malaria in 2018 compared to 231 million in 2017. The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 405 000 in 2018, down from 416 000 in 2017.
While malaria can be transmitted in different areas, the highest concentration is in Africa. In 2018, the continent accounted for 93 per cent of cases and 94 per cent of deaths.
Symptoms usually appear 10-15 days after a person is bitten by the infected mosquito. The first symptoms are usually fever, headache and chills. They may be mild and difficult to recognise as malaria, and if not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can become more severe, even resulting in death.
Children under five years are very vulnerable to the illness. In 2018, there were 272 000 deaths in that age group or 67 per cent of all malaria deaths worldwide.
Malaria is treatable and curable. (Source World Health Organisation)
Read more about the Anopheles Mosquito in Barbados.