Problems of controlling endemic diseases

The difference between endemic and epidemic

Ethical Issues

The difference between endemic and epidemic

Malaria is endemic to a wide stretch around the equator that covers South and Central America, Africa, the Middle East and South-East Asia. A disease is endemic when it occurs routinely in an area. An epidemic, on the other hand, is a temporary explosion of cases of a disease in an area.

Numbers of people surpassing 100,000,000 are newly infected yearly, with hundreds of thousands dying as a result. There are three conditions conductive to malaria being endemic, and that determine which efforts to curb the disease are most likely to bear fruit in a particular region:

  1. High human density
  2. High anopheles mosquito density
  3. High rates of transmission from mosquitoes to humans and from humans to mosquitoes (as you remember, the gametophytes of the Plasmodium parasite fuse inside the mosquito to create sporozoites; these are transmitted to humans and undergo further development to produce gametophytes again, which get transmitted back to mosquitoes)


Economically speaking, it may be more worthwhile to prevent the disease than to treat it. This is feasible in areas like China where the money needed by the affected Chinese provinces to execute this is a small percentage of the healthcare budget, but not necessarily in other parts of the world affected by malaria, such as Tanzania, where these measures would by comparison be equivalent to a large portion of the budget (a fifth)…

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