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The primary role of public health is to identify diseases that affect people and develop ways of treating and preventing the occurrence of such cases in the future. One of the major health care issues in the United States is malaria. It is a serious problem as it affects about 1700 people every year, according to the information given by the World Health Organization. Majority of malaria cases occurs among travelers and immigrants from areas like the Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia as transmission in those parts is common. It is therefore of importance understanding about malaria, regarding its signs, and the people who are at a higher risk of contracting as well as the current efforts taken to curb it so that the public health is promoted.


Malaria has existed since human evolution but was detected in 1880 by scientist Alphonse Laveran. The scholar discovered that the disease is led by protozoan parasites classified in the Plasmodium genus and transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquitoes. Laveran‘s discovery was a result of the presence of the parasites in malaria patients of that time. More researches were conducted afterward, which confirmed the existence of malaria and more information, for example, the sexual stages of the parasite were included. Malaria is only transmitted from one person to the other, by the female Anopheles mosquitos, which have had a bite of an infected person’s blood. Therefore, it is not a contagious illness as having contact with an infected person does not spread it.

Even though there are several types of malaria, they have similar signs and symptoms that become life-threatening if not treated on time. The reason for this is that the parasites invade one’s liver and the red blood cells. As a result, the person’s oxygen flow is altered as they lay eggs and increase, where the red blood cells would burst to cause death. Some of the common signs of malaria are high fever, increased sweating, headache, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pains and diarrhea. Since the parasite affects a critical part of the body, people experiencing the above signs should visit health care centers as early as possible, to save lives. Malaria in the United States is most common in areas with immigrants, especially those from Sub Saharan Africa and South Asia as the regions offer a suitable environment for mosquito breeding.

The significance of Malaria to Public Health

As said above, malaria is a significant problem regarding public health not only in the United States but across the globe. One of the attributes for this is that over 600, 000 people die from malaria every year as per WHO’s data (Wijesundere & Ramasamy 2017). Notably, the United States is said to have controlled the illness in the 1950s, but it receives many immigrants. Thus the condition is common in the American hospitals, meaning that it an issue. It is also a significant issue because it attacks anyone who visits the malaria epidemic regions such as sub-Saharan Africa, South America, and the Middle East. Since moving from one nation to the other has been made easy by globalization, the illness should be controlled to control the increased number of deaths. The role of public health, in this case, is to ensure that information reaches the public, especially on prevention.

Prevention of Malaria

Despite the idea that malaria kills thousands of people across the globe each year, it is preventable through the three levels of disease prevention. In the primary prevention level, the condition is controlled before it occurs. The importance of this phase is to inform people about the risk of how to prevent it through techniques like education (Thakkar & Brijesh 2016). For example, the primary prevention of malaria is the use of treated mosquito nets and taking of anti-malaria tablets while visiting areas where the parasites are common. Secondly, is the secondary prevention level which aims at reducing the impacts of the disease after it has occurred. In short, public health helps victims manage the condition as soon as it is detected so that the effects are controlled. In this case, malaria patients would take medicines as required and follow other guidelines given by the doctors. Lastly, is the tertiary prevention level that ensures long term treatment benefits. For example, support groups would be formulated, where the people at risk continue being guided on strategies to apply while controlling malaria.

Risky Populations

Some populations are normally at a higher risk of contracting malaria than others, for example, expectant mothers, children below five years, HIV/AIDS patients as well as mobile people (Beck et al., 2017). The pregnant mothers get into a higher risk due to hormonal changes that occur while kids would contract it because of playing around areas with stagnant water, where the parasites breed. The HIV/AIDS patients should also be careful as malaria is one of the opportunistic diseases while the mobile people travel to various areas including those where malaria is common. Therefore, the public health department should consider these populations by educating them about the illness and prevention based on the situation surrounding them.

Determinants of Malaria Spreading

According to (Anyanwu et al., 2017), the environment is the primary determinant of malaria contraction, meaning that the prevention techniques should be based on it. For example, people living near bushes, places with stagnant water, low altitude and high temperatures are at a higher risk of developing the condition than the rest. The Anopheles mosquitoes survive in such areas, making the people around at a higher risk. As a result, communities’ social behaviors such as ensuring proper drainage should be ensured, in controlling malaria.

Current Efforts in Public Health for Malaria Prevention

Since malaria is listed as one of the global illnesses, several interventions have been put, in controlling its spread. One is the provision of bed nets and indoor residual spraying, where the parasites are killed. Victims are also given antimalarial drugs accompanied by therapy on how to manage the condition and prevent it in the future. Moreover, there have been intermittent treatment programs, to the risky populations like the pregnant mothers as well as seasonal malaria chemoprevention especially when the transmission season is reached (Kazansky et al., 2016).


In conclusion, malaria is a significant issue in public health because it has affected a large number of people, but it is controllable. Knowing about it is significant, as it gives a clear guideline of the necessary actions needed in prevention. For example, the risky populations are pregnant mothers, kids, people living with HIV/AIDS and travelers. As a result, the public health should apply the three levels of prevention to these populations, by educating them about the determinants and applying the currently available techniques discussed in the paper. As a result, malaria would be controlled and the many lives lost every year would end. Therefore, malaria is a disease that has affected many people, but it is controllable through the identification of risky populations and educating them about prevention methods.


Anyanwu, P. E., Fulton, J., Evans, E., & Paget, T. (2017). Exploring the role of socioeconomic factors in the development and spread of anti-malarial drug resistance: a qualitative study — malaria journal, 16(1), 203.

Beck-Johnson, L. M., Nelson, W. A., Paaijmans, K. P., Read, A. F., Thomas, M. B., & Bjørnstad, O. N. (2017). The importance of temperature fluctuations in understanding mosquito population dynamics and malaria risk. Royal Society open science, 4(3), 160969.

Kazansky, Y., Wood, D., & Sutherlun, J. (2016). The current and potential role of satellite remote sensing in the campaign against malaria. Acta Astronautica, 121, 292-305.

Thakkar, M., & Brijesh, S. (2016). Combating malaria with nanotechnology-based targeted and combinatorial drug delivery strategies. Drug delivery and translational research, 6(4), 414-425.

Wijesundere, D., & Ramasamy, R. (2017). Analysis of Historical Trends and Recent Elimination of Malaria from Sri Lanka and Its Applicability for Malaria Control in Other Countries. Frontiers In Public Health, 5. doi: 10.3389/fpubh.2017.00212

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