Representative photo of mosquitoes: Reuters
The World Health Organisation (WHO) declared China malaria-free on June 30, after a 70 year old effort to eradicate the disease.
“We congratulate the people of China on ridding the country of malaria. Their success was hard-earned and came only after decades of targeted and sustained action. With this announcement, China joins the growing number of countries that are showing the world that a malaria-free future is a viable goal,” said WHO director general Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus.
China used to report around 30 million cases per year in the 1940s. Since then, government efforts and initiatives led to a steady decline in cases.
The WHO said China started to distribute medicine to prevent the disease in risk areas decades ago. Mosquito-breeding areas have also been systematically reduced and insect repellents and protective nets have been made widely available.
A scientific program in 1967 to find new malaria treatments led to the discovery of artemisinin, which is the core compound of artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs).
In the 1980s, China was among the first countries to extensively test the use of insecticide-treated nets to prevent malaria.
To be declared free of themosquito-borne disease, countries can apply for WHO certification after three years of zero indigenous cases. This is followed by presenting evidence, and demonstrating the capacity to prevent an outbreak.
China applied forWHO certification2020年，连续四年零土着病例。今年5月前往该国的专家核实疟疾的地位，并准备防止未来的爆发。
Malaria is transmitted by the infected anopheles mosquito. If not treated in time, it has the potential to become life-threatening. Symptoms include high fever, headache, and chills, among others.
The WHO’s last World Malaria Report says there were 229 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2019. The estimated number of deaths was 409,000 in 2019, compared to 411,000 deaths in 2018.Africa accounts for94% of all malaria cases.