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There is no accurate contemporary global map of the distribution of malaria. We show how guidelines formulated to advise travellers on appropriate chemoprophylaxis for areas of reported Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax malaria risk can be used to generate crude spatial limits. We first review and amalgamate information on these guidelines to define malaria risk at national and sub-national administrative boundary levels globally. We then adopt an iterative approach to reduce these extents by applying a series of biological limits imposed by altitude, climate and population density to malaria transmission, specific to the local dominant vector species. Global areas of, and population at risk from, P. falciparum and often-neglected P. vivax malaria are presented for 2005 for all malaria endemic countries. These results reveal that more than 3 billion people were at risk of malaria in 2005.

Original publication




Journal article


Adv Parasitol

Publication Date





157 - 179


Altitude, Animals, Climate, Disease Vectors, Endemic Diseases, Humans, Malaria, Falciparum, Malaria, Vivax, Population Density, Travel