Malaria sickens hundreds of millions of people-and kills one to three million-each year. Despite massive efforts to eradicate the disease, it remains a major public health problem in poorer tropical regions. But malaria has not always been concentrated in tropical areas. How did other regions control malaria and why does the disease still flourish in some parts of the globe?
From Russia to Bengal to Palm Beach, Randall Packard's far-ranging narrative traces the natural and social forces that help malaria spread and make it deadly. He finds that war, land development, crumbling health systems, and globalization-coupled with climate change and changes in the distribution and flow of water-create conditions in which malaria's carrier mosquitoes thrive. The combination of these forces, Packard contends, makes the tropical regions today a perfect home for the disease.
Authoritative, fascinating, and eye-opening, this short history of malaria concludes with policy recommendations for improving control strategies and saving lives.
Randall M. Packard is director of the Institute for the History of Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of White Plague, Black Labor: Tuberculosis and the Political Economy of Health and Disease in South Africa and coeditor of Emerging Illnesses and Society: Negotiating the Public Health Agenda, also published by Johns Hopkins.