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For centuries, malaria was wide spread in many regions of Armenia, including the marsh-ridden areas of Kilikia and Ararat valley. Intensive malaria control measures in Soviet Armenia led to complete eradication of the disease in the republic by 1963.
Malaria-free status was maintained till 1990s. After 1991, following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the situation became critical in terms of maintaining a malaria-free status. The epidemic of malaria started in 1994 was attributed in part to poor socio-economic conditions in the country, resulting in disruption of public health infrastructure and re-emergence of some infectious diseases, including malaria.
In 1994, 196 malaria cases among military personnel were reported in the country. In 1995, the number of imported cases increased to 502. In the next year, 149 cases out of 347 were reported as autochthonous.
During 1997-1998, the number of reported cases (imported and autochthonous) continued to rise, and a total of 1,156 cases were reported in 1998. Although 30 out of 81 districts recorded malaria cases, 89 percent of the autochthonous cases were in Masis districts (Ararat valley) bordering Turkey.
Malaria situation started to improve in 1999, when 616 Plasmodium vivax cases were reported, of which 376 were from Masis district. In 2000, the number of malaria cases (imported and autochthonous) continued to decline and came to 140. There was a further decrease in the number of reported malaria cases in 2001 and 2002 (See Table1 & Fig1).

Table1. Malaria cases in Armenia, 1995 - 2002
Cases 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
Autochthonous 0 149 567 542 329 63 41 11
Imported 502 198 274 614 287 77 36 32
P.vivax 502 347 841 1156 612 135 76 43
P.falciparum 0 0 0 0 3 2 0 0
Confirmed - - - - - 137 76 43
Suspected - - - - - 3 1 0
Total 502 347 841 1156 616 140 77 43*
* Number of cases by Aug, 2002
Imported from Sudan & Congo

Re-emerging malaria in Armenia has shown that the ongoing epidemic may assume larger dimensions. Moreover, given the fact that malaria epidemics exist in Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Iran and in Central Asia, malaria epidemic in Armenia will continue to present a danger of a large-scale epidemic if no effective control and prevention measures are taken.

 

© 2002. Malaria in Armenia.
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