Malaria

High-risk groups

Mothers and infants waiting at a clinic in Uganda
Sarah Hoibak/UNHCR

Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. These include infants, children under five years of age, pregnant women, patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travellers. National malaria control programmes need to take special measures to protect these population groups from malaria infection, taking into consideration their specific circumstances.


Malaria in pregnant women

Malaria in pregnancy increases the risk of maternal and fetal anaemia, stillbirth, spontaneous abortion, low birth weight and neonatal death.

Malaria in infants

Infants born to mothers living in endemic areas are vulnerable to malaria from approximately three months of age, when immunity acquired from the mother starts to wane.

Malaria in children under five

In high-transmission areas of the world, children under five years of age (including infants) are the most vulnerable group. Worldwide, over 85% of malaria deaths occur in children under five years of age.

Malaria in HIV/AIDS patients

Co-infection and interaction between these two diseases have major public health implications. HIV infection increases the risk of malaria infection, severe malaria and death, while malaria may result in the worsening of clinical AIDS.

Malaria in migrants and mobile populations

Migrants, refugees and other mobile population groups often lack partial immunity to malaria, and have limited access to prevention, diagnostic testing and treatment services.

Key documents

World Malaria Report 2013

The report contains the latest available data on malaria policies, interventions and trends in all endemic countries.

Contact us

Global Malaria Programme
World Health Organization
20 Avenue Appia
1211 Geneva 27
Switzerland
Tel: +41 22 791 2533
Fax: +41 22 791 4824
E-mail: infogmp@who.int