El Salvador certified as malaria-free by WHO

Feb. 26, 2021

El Salvador became the first country in Central America to be awarded a certification of malaria elimination by the World Health Organization (WHO). The certification follows more than 50 years of commitment by the Salvadoran government and people to end the disease in a country with dense population and geography hospitable to malaria, the WHO said in a news release.

Certification of malaria elimination is granted by the WHO when a country has proven, beyond reasonable doubt, that the chain of indigenous transmission has been interrupted nationwide for at least the previous three consecutive years.

With the exception of one outbreak in 1996, the WHO said El Salvador steadily reduced its malaria burden over the last three decades. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of malaria cases declined from more than 9,000 to 26. The country has reported zero indigenous cases of the disease since 2017.

El Salvador is the third country to have achieved malaria-free status in recent years in the WHO Region of the Americas, following Argentina in 2019 and Paraguay in 2018. Seven countries in the region were certified from 1962 to 1973. Globally, a total of 38 countries and territories have reached this milestone, the WHO said.

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