Malaria cases in China have declined sharply since the turn of the century. In 2020, after reporting zero indigenous cases for the fourth consecutive year, China applied for official WHO certification to eradicate malaria.
There are 40 countries and territories around the world that have been declared malaria-free. According to WHO, Australia, Singapore and Brunei are the only other Western Pacific countries to be certified.
Malaria was a serious problem for China in the 1940s, with about 30 million cases reported annually. Authorities began efforts to stop the spread of malaria in the 1950s with preventative anti-malaria drugs and measures to reduce mosquito breeding grounds.
Scientist Tu Youyou is part of this secret project, scrutinizing ancient texts and folk manuals for clues and finally collecting 2,000 potential remedies. After scraping these and testing each in mice, she discovered a compound that reduces the number of malaria parasites in rodent blood-this is humanity’s best defense against disease to date. The discovery that brought about artemisinin. In 2015 she won the Nobel Prize in Medicine.
These findings helped reduce the annual number of cases in China, which reached 117,000 by the end of 1990, along with the development of tools to prevent pesticide-treated net-like illnesses. In the early 2000s, there was additional funding from the World Fund. AIDS has enabled the country to strengthen its training, medical and equipment. Within 10 years, the number of cases decreased to 5,000 per year.
China has been declared free of malaria, but the WHO warned that the disease could recur. However, he added that China has a strong malaria monitoring and management program to prevent the recurrence of the disease.
Southern Yunnan borders three countries with high malaria incidence, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, so the risk of imported cases is particularly high. China also has a large diaspora and migrant worker community in Africa, where malaria is endemic, increasing the risk of recurrence of the disease.
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