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CDC's origins are closely linked to malaria control activities in the United States. The Communicable Disease Center was established in 1946 in Atlanta, Georgia. It succeeded the Office of Malaria Control in War Areas (MCWA), which was charged with malaria control in the southeastern US during World War II. A few years following CDC's inception, malaria was eliminated from the US, and CDC has now greatly expanded its public health goals. However, malaria remains a major field of activities at CDC.

item See also: CDC's Origins and Malaria

Domestic Activities

Malaria was eliminated as a major public health problem in the United States in the late 1940's. However, several hundred cases of malaria occur annually in the United States, mostly in returning travelers and immigrants ("imported" malaria). Anopheles mosquitoes capable of transmitting malaria ("vectors") exist in the United States. Thus, there is a constant risk that malaria transmission can resume in the United States.

CDC domestic activities include:

  • Epidemiologic surveillance
  • Investigations of outbreaks of locally transmitted malaria and of other occurrences (e.g., transfusion malaria)
  • Advice to international travelers
  • Consultations with clinicians
  • Advice to blood collection centers
  • Diagnostic assistance.
item More: Domestic Activities

International Activities

Malaria remains a major health problem in developing countries, and CDC participates actively in global efforts against malaria through:

  • Work in malaria-endemic countries with the Ministry of Health and local disease prevention and control partners (e.g., the national malaria control program, the reproductive health program responsible for maternal health, the child health program)
  • Work in malaria-endemic regional settings (e.g., the Mekong River region; the Amazon River basin region)
  • Work with key multilateral and bilateral Roll Back Malaria (RBM) partners (e.g., World Health Organization (WHO), the United Nations' Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Bank, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID).

CDC currently has staff posted at the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria; UNICEF; and the World Bank; as well as in three African malaria-endemic countries (Kenya, Malawi, and Tanzania). Their work spans the spectrum of policy development, program guidance and support, scientific research, and monitoring and evaluation of progress toward RBM goals. CDC staff also provides technical assistance to several malaria endemic countries to strengthen their control activities.

item More: International Activities


The CDC malaria research program aims to improve our understanding of malaria and to yield better methods for fighting the disease. Research often is performed in collaboration with other institutions and combines field and laboratory activities.

Field investigations provide insights in mechanisms of transmission and host responses. They often yield specimens that provide valuable information when studied further in laboratories in the United States and overseas.

The laboratories (augmented by insectaries and animal facilities) conduct more basic studies, whose findings can be in turn verified or expanded during field investigations. The CDC malaria research laboratories serve as a WHO Collaborating Center for malaria.

item More: Research


Page last modified : June 2, 2006
Content source: Division of Parasitic Diseases
National Center for Zoonotic, Vector-Borne, and Enteric Diseases (ZVED)


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Contact Info

Health Care Professionals
Health care providers needing assistance with diagnosis or management of suspected cases of malaria should call the CDC Malaria Hotline: 770-488-7788 (M-F, 8am-4:30pm, eastern time). Emergency consultation after hours, call: 770-488-7100 and request to speak with a CDC Malaria Branch clinician.

By email
Fighting Malaria: CDC's Historic Commitment
Learn about malaria history…
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