Malaria in Miami? Shifting from global to local health.

Malaria in Miami? Shifting from global to local health.

anopheles As we briefly shift to local health, it was surprising to read about malaria cases in Miami. Miami-Dade has the largest foreign-born population in the United States, making it one of the most international communities. The diversity found in Miami-Dade is attributed not only to its foreign-born residents, but also to its tourists and visitors. From a health perspective, the diverse mixture of people and the geographical mobility involved naturally give rise to health concerns.

Diseases that typically only occur in developing countries are likely to be brought to our local community. For example, let’s take malaria. Although malaria does not originate from the United States, in 2012 there were 65 imported cases in Florida. The greatest number of imported malaria cases were reported from Haiti, Nigeria, and Ghana. The inclusion of malaria into our own community here in Miami-Dade reminds us that a healthier local community can occur only with a healthier global community.

Decades ago, measures were taken in the US to reduce the impact of malaria on the US population. In 1947, there were 15,000 reported cases of Malaria in the US, by 1950 that number had fallen to 2,000. In 1951, the elimination of malaria among the US population was complete.

Malaria is a leading cause of death worldwide. Approximately half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria (approximately 3.5 billion). An estimated 219 million people are infected every year, the disease causes debilitating cycles of pain, fever, coma and even death. According to a 2012 World Health Organization (WHO) malaria report, nearly 660,000 deaths were recorded in 2012, with most of them occurring in young African children.

Malaria is both preventable and treatable. In fact, malaria preventions and treatments are some of the most cost-effective available to save lives. So if this is the case, then why is malaria still a leading cause of death? The Children’s Prize is concerned with this fundamental question because it explores basic aspects of intervention effectiveness, cultural interaction and sustainability.

Photograph: © Kletr –


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