History of Malaria


Malaria Symptoms Described

2700 BC

The symptoms of malaria were described as far back in ancient Chinese medical writings

Malaria recognised in Greece

500 BC - 400 BC

Malaria was recognised in Greece. The disease caused the decline of population of many areas in Greece

Malaria's cure is found

1600 - 1650

Spanish Missionaries in the New World were taught by local tribes that the medicine quinine found in Peruvian bark cured malaria.

Malaria parasites found


A French army surgeon, Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran noticed parasites in the blood of one of his patients who was suffering from malaria

Malaria species discovered

1890 - 1897

The differentiation of malaria species was discovered by the Italian Neurophysiologist, Camillo Golgi and the malaria parasites were named.

Mosquitos transmit malaria parasites


Ronald Ross, a British officer in the Indian Medical Service was the first to discover that mosquitoes transmit malaria parasites.

Rome declared malaria-free

1930 - 1939

People noticed the larvae (unborn) of mosquitoes survived underwater. Europeans decided to drain the mosquitoes breeding grounds (marshes) and clear slow moving rivers where mosquitoes thrived. They would spread oil on the surface to suffocate the mosquitoes and bomb the sites. This technique for the eradication of mosquitoes brought successes. In the 1930s, the area around Rome was declared malaria-free for the first time in history.

DDT invented

1939 - 1945

During WWII, the U.S military made malaria their top priority for research as more soldiers died from malaria than from bullets. Scientists tested compounds, trying to find an insecticide. They discovered an insecticide cheap enough for any country to afford called DDT. The WHO (World Health Organisation) began an eradication campaign using DDT to help decrease the incidents of malaria worldwide. It removed the disease from Europe, North America and Russia, and also decreased fatalities exponentially in tropical areas as well as in South America, India and Sri Lanka.

Cure for Malaria found in China


One of China’s leading scientists found a drug (Artemisinin) to kill malaria parasites, but China chose not to share this breakthrough with the rest of the world as they believed the Western world were 'snooping'.

New insecticide needed


The WHO admitted they needed a new insecticide to eradicate the mosquito as mosquitoes were soon able to resist DDT.

China released Artemisinin

Approx. 1995 - Approx. 1998

Finally, in the mid to late '90s, China agreed to take sides with the Western world and help prevent malaria worldwide with the drug Artemisinin.