Morocco certified malaria free

The World Health Organization has certified Morocco - a country with a population of approximately 31.6 million people - as malaria-free, according to a press release from the WHO.

"On the basis of conclusions regarding the situation of malaria in Morocco, drawn by the WHO assessment groups in 2008 and 2009…the WHO has decided to put Morocco on the list of countries having succeeded in eradicating malaria," the WHO announced, reports.

Morocco is the second country to be certified as malaria-free since certification procedures were re-initiated in 2004, according to the WHO news release. The country has been working to prevent and control the virus as far back as 1920.

According to the WHO, "the burden of the disease has declined steadily" since 303,000 cases and 568 deaths were reported in 1947 "thanks to a combination of control interventions, improved health service coverage and economic development."

The WHO states that falciparum malaria was the first strain to disappear in Morocco, followed by autochthonous P. falciparum malaria in 1974. Then, in 1999, Moroccan officials and WHO officials began to gear health programs regarding all strains of malaria towards the elimination of the virus.
Control efforts and surveillance efforts intensified. The last case of autochthonous P. vivax malaria was recorded in 2004.

The United States was ruled to be malaria-free in 1970, according to the WHO.