London: Thirty-five per cent of the world’s population, including in India, lives in areas under the risk of deadly malaria, according to the first spatial map of global malaria peril, published at Oxford University.
The Malaria Atlas Project (MAP), led by Oxford University professor Bob Snow, in conjunction with the Kenyan Medical Research Institute, found that 2.37 billion people were at risk of contracting P. falciparum malaria, the deadliest human malaria parasite in 2007.
The MAP, funded by the Wellcome Trust, charts the prevalence of malaria across the globe.
The MAP researchers found that of the 2.37 billion at risk of contracting malaria, almost one billion people lived under a much lower risk of infection than was previously assumed from historical maps.
This lower than expected risk extends across America, Asia, and even parts of Africa where risk has classically been classified as high.
Snow said: “At a time when donors and international agencies are spending more money on malaria control and re-considering the prospects of malaria elimination, it is critical to have a map of where the disease risks exist. Such a map has been conspicuous by its absence for 40 years.”
“Our recent work is the first of its kind, and it should guide where investment should continue to increase, and where elimination may be possible,” he said.
The MAP team spent three years compiling information from the health statistics of countries, tourist travel advisories, climate, mosquito vectors and surveys of malaria infection recorded in nearly 5,000 communities, across 87 countries at risk of P. falciparum malaria.