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Malaria, the evil of the marshes forgotten but not gone
In Italy seems to belong to a remote past, made up of marshes, to the inhumane living conditions, ignorance and superstitions. But malaria is an enemy that is still alive, as demonstrated by the case of the journalist who died this night in Agrigento. Epidemiological data relating to the period 2011-2015, show 3.633 malaria cases notified in Italy, of which 89% with confirmed diagnosis. The quasi-totality of the cases are imported (as in the case of Agrigento), autochthonous cases were reported just seven. They are far away in short times, where the "bad air", as they called it, the farmers who had realized where he was from the danger, without a thought that the mortal enemy were the mosquitoes, was claiming hundreds of thousands of victims in Italy, especially in the Pontine Marshes.

But the danger, especially for travellers, is not the past. Malaria is a disease caused by protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium, whose life cycle takes place in two guests obliged, a vertebrate as intermediate host and a female mosquito as the definitive host, also called the carrier. The species of plasmodia responsible for human malaria are transmitted in a natural way from man to man by the bite of infected mosquitoes belonging to the genus Anopheles, however you can verify the transmission, even with accidental events by the contagion of blood direct.

In endemic Countries is the disease transmitted by the vector more widespread in the world, in Countries that are not endemic disease is of import more important, primarily related to travel in tropical areas and the increased migratory flows. Today it is widespread mainly in Countries of the tropical and sub-tropical. In particular, is highly endemic in Africa, where occur the largest number of cases and deaths. Instead, it is present with different degrees of endemicity in the Countries of South-east asia, the Middle East and Central Asia, the western Pacific and central and south America. Overall, almost half of the world population, especially that residing in poor Countries, lives in areas at risk of malaria.

However, in recent years, the spread of malaria in the world has been greatly reduced thanks to the implementation of programmes to fight and control promoted by Who and several international associations. In non-endemic regions with a temperate climate, such as Italy, despite the high number of imported cases and the presence of vectors and competent on the territory, the possibility of reappearance of local transmission is considered extremely low. Throughout the world there are more than 400 different species of mosquitoes, Anopheles, about 60 are able to transmit malaria, but they are only 30 those that have the greatest importance as vectors of malaria.

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