CDC Update: Progress Against Malaria


CDC is a globally-recognized leader in malaria control and serves as WHO’s only collaborating center for malaria in the U.S.

CDC—including through its role as co-implementer of the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI)—works hand-in-hand with local and international partners to drive down malaria’s terrible burden. We evaluate new tools like vaccines and spatial repellents, monitor emerging mosquito threats, and help pregnant women receive preventive care for malaria. ​

In recognition of World Malaria Day 2023, we are proud to share a glimpse of this work.

In Africa, children under 5 years old account for nearly 80% of all malaria deaths.Kenya – In Africa, children under 5 years old account for nearly 80% of all malaria deaths. ​

Since 1979, CDC has collaborated with the Kenya Medical Research Institute (KEMRI) on the establishment of a premier malaria research field station. There, CDC experts and local collaborators work together to develop and evaluate new tools for malaria control, including the RTS,S malaria vaccine.

In this photo, a KEMRI/CDC community interviewer and a mother review the result of the child’s (negative) rapid diagnostic test for malaria.​

Credit: Nelli Westercamp​

testing_ATSBsKenya – In 2022, CDC and KEMRI led a community survey to assess malaria vaccine coverage and acceptability, provide malaria testing and treatment, and assess malnutrition in children. ​

In this photo, a KEMRI/CDC team member is on her way to meet with village leadership to prepare them for the following day’s survey.​

Credit: Nelli Westercamp​

Senegal_PARMA_Hub_labSenegal – CDC postdoctoral fellow Jessica McCaffrey (left) training visiting Guinean lab scientists, Pascal Kamanoniouma (center) and Daouda Camara (right), at the CDC- and PMI-supported Partnership for Antimalarial Resistance Monitoring in Africa (PARMA) training hub in Senegal.

The new PARMA Hub at the lab at Cheikh Anta Diop University of Dakar, Senegal supports trainees from neighboring countries and helps CDC and PMI support antimalarial drug resistance monitoring in Africa.

Credit: Djiby Sow 

4_Bed_net_distribution_KenyaCameroon – Dr. Judith Hedje, CDC’s PMI Resident Advisor for Cameroon, collecting mosquitoes from a CDC-developed light trap (which uses a combination of light and carbon dioxide to capture live mosquitos) for research purposes. ​

Credit: Souleymanou Souleymanou 

Insecticide susceptibility test using CDC bottlesCameroon – Dr. Hedje (right) and Salomon Patchoke, a hygiene technician, preparing to test mosquitoes for insecticide susceptibility.

Mosquito control interventions have accounted for 70% of the impact we’ve seen in reducing malaria burden. However, increasing global intensity of mosquito control has led to widespread increases in insecticide resistance.

CDC and PMI support partner countries in their efforts to monitor and manage resistance and are researching innovative molecular methods to detect resistance early so we can adjust programs and policies as needed.

Credit: Souleymanou Souleymanou ​

washing_eggsRwanda – PMI-supported indoor residual spraying (IRS) involves treating the walls of homes with long-lasting insecticides that kill mosquitoes and disrupt malaria transmission.​

In this photo, IRS spray operators provide a demonstration of proper spray technique to local health care workers.​

Credit: BK Kapella

Puerto_Rico_Vector_Control_UnitRwanda – Children greet the PMI team during the IRS demonstration. ​

In 2021, more than 1.3 million Rwandans were protected from malaria thanks to PMI-funded IRS campaigns.​

Credit: BK Kapella

Liberia –CDC biologist Alice Sutcliffe (second from the bottom) helps Amos Osycal Zuzar, Julius W. Teahton, Francis Jaryan, and Kpehe Bolay (back to front)—laboratory scientists from the National Public Health Institute of Liberia—identify mosquito species, insecticide resistance traits, and bloodmeal host identities using molecular techniques. 

PMI and CDC support strengthening partner countries’ capacity to conduct malaria vector monitoring as one of the cornerstones of their global malaria work. 

Credit: Ibrahima Baber

Researchers from Ethiopia’s Armauer Hansen Research InstituteEthiopia – Researchers from Ethiopia’s Armauer Hansen Research Institute conducting surveillance for Anopheles stephensi larvae in a concrete cistern.​

An. stephensi is an urban malaria mosquito vector that recently invaded Africa from South Asia. This mosquito could potentially increase the number of persons in urban areas at risk of malaria by 126 million yearly. ​

CDC and PMI help countries prepare for, monitor, and mitigate this threat.  ​

Credit: Sarah Zohdy

mosquitoes, reared and prepared at CDC headquartersUSA – As part of PMI’s support to partner countries, hundreds of pinned An. stephensimosquitoes are reared and prepared at CDC headquarters, ready to be distributed for use as reference material in training for identifying the invasive species.

Credit: Cristina Rafferty

spatial_repellentsKenya – In collaboration with KEMRI, the University of Notre Dame, and other institutions, CDC researchers are evaluating spatial repellents, a vector control tool that works by releasing chemicals into the air which interfere with mosquitoes’ ability to detect a host and feed. They recently found that deployment of these tools in houses in western Kenya led to a reduction in malaria infections in children, which is encouraging for the future of mosquito control. ​

In this photo, a community health worker records data as she replaces an old spatial repellent with a new one. ​

Credit: John Gimnig​

Benin – Pregnant women and young children are at highest risk for severe malaria and death. To ensure the health of pregnant women and their babies, CDC experts—with support from PMI—study how best to administer preventive malaria treatments during pregnancy and help partner countries scale up interventions.

In this video of group antenatal care at the Soyo Health Center in the Allada Toffo Ze Health Zone, the pregnant mothers sing: “What do we value? What is our treasure? We value our child! Whatever our material wealth, whether it’s money, houses, buildings, castles, or vehicles, nothing can match the value of our child! We value our child!”

Credit: Catherine Dentinger