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Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015.

Publication Status: Published

Sponsoring Organization: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Sponsoring Office: Armed Forces Health Surveillance Center

Congressionally Mandated: No

Funding Source: Defense Health Agency (formerly TRICARE Management Activity)

Release Date/Publication: January 01, 2016

Principle Investigator Status: Government

Primary DoD Data Source: Defense Medical Surveillance System

Secondary DoD Data Source:


U.S. service members are at risk of acquiring malaria infection when they are located in endemic areas because of long-term duty assignments, participation in shorter-term contingency operations, or personal travel. The number of malaria cases among U.S. military service members in 2015 (n=30) was the lowest annual count in at least 20 years and follows 3 previous years of greatly reduced incidence. The relatively low numbers of cases during 2012-2015 mainly reflect decreases in cases acquired in Afghanistan as the number of troops who served in Afghanistan sharply diminished in those years. About 43% of the 2015 cases were caused by Plasmodium falciparum (n=13) and 13% by Plasmodium vivax (n=4); about one-third of cases (37%) were reported as "unspecified" malaria. Malaria was diagnosed at or reported from 21 different medical facilities in the U.S., Afghanistan, Germany, and Korea. Providers of health care to military members should be knowledgeable regarding, and vigilant for, clinical presentations of malaria outside of endemic areas.


Armed Forces Health Surveillance Branch. Update: Malaria, U.S. Armed Forces, 2015. MSMR. 2016 Jan;23(1):2-6.

Last Updated: February 21, 2019

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