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The Changing Global Distribution of Malaria: A Review


  • Amar Hamoudi
  • Jeffrey D. Sachs


Organized efforts to reduce the burden of malaria are as old as human societies. Understanding the historical relationships between humankind and malaria is important for natural and social scientists studying the disease, as well as policy makers trying to control it. Malaria once extended widely throughout the old world, reaching as far north as 64ºN latitude and as far south as 32ºS latitude. Today, however, malaria is almost exclusively a problem of the geographical tropics. Analysis of historical changes in malaria prevalence suggests a number of factors which help to determine the likelihood and sustainability of success in malaria control. Among these are geography, evolutionary history of flora and fauna, infrastructure, and land use. It is due to these factors, much more than socio-economic ones, that attempts to control or interrupt transmission of the disease have historically been most successful on islands, in temperate climates, or at high elevations.

Suggested Citation

  • Amar Hamoudi & Jeffrey D. Sachs, 1999. "The Changing Global Distribution of Malaria: A Review," CID Working Papers 2, Center for International Development at Harvard University.
  • Handle: RePEc:wop:cidhav:2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. McCombie, S. C., 1996. "Treatment seeking for malaria: A review of recent research," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 43(6), pages 933-945, September.
    2. Najera, J.A. & Liese, B.H. & Hammer, J., 1992. "Malaria; New Patters and Perspectives," Papers 183, World Bank - Technical Papers.
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    Cited by:

    1. McDonald, Scott & Roberts, Jennifer, 2006. "AIDS and economic growth: A human capital approach," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 80(1), pages 228-250, June.
    2. Gerardo Esquivel, 2000. "Geografía y desarrollo económico en México," IDB Publications (Working Papers) 2049, Inter-American Development Bank.
    3. Raouf Boucekkine & Rodolphe Desbordes & Hélène Latzer, 2009. "How do epidemics induce behavioral changes?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 14(3), pages 233-264, September.
    4. Alan Martina, 2009. "On the Constrained Contribution of Advances in Medical Knowledge to the Economic Growth of Developing Countries," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2009-504, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.
    5. Gerardo Esquivel, 2000. "Geography and Economic Development in Mexico," Research Department Publications 3089, Inter-American Development Bank, Research Department.
    6. Hong, Sok Chul, 2013. "Malaria: An early indicator of later disease and work level," Journal of Health Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(3), pages 612-632.
    7. Simon Dixon & Scott McDonald & Jennifer Roberts, 2001. "AIDS and economic growth in Africa: a panel data analysis," Journal of International Development, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 13(4), pages 411-426.
    8. José García-Montalvo & Marta Reynal-Querol, 2002. "Fighting Against Malaria: Prevent Wars While Waiting For The "Miraculous" Vaccine," Working Papers. Serie EC 2002-31, Instituto Valenciano de Investigaciones Económicas, S.A. (Ivie).
    9. Alan Martina, 2007. "A Class of Poverty Traps: A Theory and Empirical Tests," ANU Working Papers in Economics and Econometrics 2007-482, Australian National University, College of Business and Economics, School of Economics.

    More about this item


    malaria; geography; history;

    JEL classification:

    • I1 - Health, Education, and Welfare - - Health
    • N5 - Economic History - - Agriculture, Natural Resources, Environment and Extractive Industries
    • N7 - Economic History - - Economic History: Transport, International and Domestic Trade, Energy, and Other Services
    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development


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