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Med Trop (Mars). 1999;59(3):298-302.

[Malaria in the Americas].

[Article in French]

Author information

  • 1Service de Parasitologie-Mycologie, Centre Hospitalier de Cayenne, Guyane Française.


In 1996, malaria involving Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, and, to a lesser extent, Plasmodium malariae was endemic in 21 countries in the Americas. The Amazon river basin and bordering areas including the Guyanas were the most affected zones. Until the mid 1970s, endemic malaria appeared to be under control. However in the ensuing 15 year period, the situation deteriorated drastically. Although trends varied depending on location, aggregate indexes indicated a twofold increase with recrudescence in previously settled areas and emergence in newly populated zones. Since 1990, the situation has worsened further in some areas where increased incidences have been associated with a high levels of drug-resistant Plasmodium falciparum. However this species remains in minority except in the Guyanas where the highest annual incidences (100 to 500 cases per 1000) and the most drug-resistant Plasmodium have been reported. The causes underlying this deterioration are numerous and complex. In regions naturally prone to transmission of the disease, outbreaks have been intensified by unrestrained settlement. The resulting deforestation has created new breeding areas for Anopheles darlingi, the main vector of malaria in the Americas. Migration of poor populations to newly opened farming and mining areas has created highly exposed areas for malaria infection. Implementation of adequate medical care and prevention measures has been hindered by a lack of money and sociopolitical unrest. Climatic phenomenon related the El Nino have also been favorable to the return of malaria to the region. Except with regard to financial resources and political unrest, the same risk factors for malaria are present in French Guiana.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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