oa Central African Journal of Medicine - The malaria problem in Zimbabwe, epidemiology

Volume 31, Issue 9
  • ISSN : 0008-9176



Several general statements can be made about malaria in Zimbabwe. Malaria transmission on the central watershed is not a problem and contraction of malaria while living solely in this region is a rare event. The risk of contracting malaria increases considerably with decreasing altitude north or south of the central watershed especially during the summer. During the winter contraction in all other malarious areas is unlikely except below 600m altitude and even there it is a greatly reduced risk over that expected in summer. As a result of the differences in intensity of transmission the population resident in malarious areas exhibit differing types of malaria endemicity. In low lying areas of high transmission the majority of the population are partially immune to malaria and may actually be carriers of malaria parasites without gross clinical symptoms. Children in these areas run a very high risk of dying from malaria until immunity is established sometime between the ages of five to nine years. Transmission is so seasonal and modified by control methods since 1949 that there is only a small proportion of the population with sufficient immunity to withstand infections of malaria without seeking treatment and thus develop the carrier state. In these areas malaria, when it is not suppressed by control measures, is epidemic in nature affecting a large proportion of the population over sometimes quite extensive areas.

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