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Europe is 100% free from malaria

19 May 2016, 11:00

On April 25, World Malaria Day was celebrated and on the eve of the holiday WHO announced that in Europe malaria is completely eliminated. Cases of new diseases in Europe in 20 years have significantly decreased and for today the doctors have not registered any new case of malaria in Europe.

According to the head of the WHO Regional Office for Europe, this achievement is an important stage in the history of public health, all European leaders have put a lot of effort into this and today we can safely celebrate a complete victory over malaria in Europe. However, you can not relax, because on the planet there are still countries in which this disease is widespread, and tourists can again bring malaria to Europe, which will be the beginning of a new epidemic.

On the long journey of ridding Europe of malaria, the Tashkent Declaration adopted in 2005 played an important role. It was this declaration that became the basis for a new way to eliminate malaria in Europe (WHO set out to rid Europe of the disease by 2015). All countries affected by this problem used the declaration as a reference point and now, due to well-coordinated work and clear actions of all European regions, local infections have decreased to zero.

All countries showed strong political commitment, made efforts to identify and epidemiological surveillance of cases of malaria, introduced new methods to combat the mosquitoes of the disease and informed citizens from the risk zone, active support was provided by local communities.

Obtain the official status of a region free from malaria if the country has not detected a single new case of malaria during the past 3 years.

Now, after analyzing the situation, the European Region is recognized as free from malaria, but the head of the Department of Infectious Diseases of WHO stressed that it is impossible to weaken attention. As long as malaria remains in the world, the risk of a new wave of infection in Europe remains fairly high and if European countries are not vigilant and respond quickly, even one person, a malaria patient, can provoke a new wave of infection.

In Ashgabat this summer, WHO intends to convene a meeting at which issues related to a possible re-epidemic of malaria in Europe will be discussed. Presumably, the meeting will be attended by representatives of countries in which there is a high risk of returning the disease.

WHO, in order to prevent the return of malaria to Europe, calls on all countries to maintain the same level of dedication to the common cause, to continue conducting timely tests and treatment of the detected cases of the disease. It is also important to understand the ways that the disease can return to Europe, as well as the risks associated with it. Each European region should be prepared for cases of the resumption of the disease and take immediate action in this regard.  

It is worth noting that the outcome of the meeting will form the basis for a strategy to prevent the re-distribution of malaria in Europe.

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