World Malaria Day 2024 – Be aware of malaria risks while travelling – take antimalarial medication and protect yourself against mosquito bites


World Malaria Day takes place on 25th April and is commemorated annually to highlight the burden of malaria globally and the progress made to date by the global community towards malaria control. In highlighting this year's event, the World Health Organization (WHO) is emphasising the critical importance of reaching marginalised populations with the tools and strategies that are available today. WHO considers that “progress in reducing malaria has ground to a standstill”, and that the world’s most marginalised continue to be disproportionately affected by malaria. The WHO African Region shoulders the heaviest burden of the disease – about 95% of the world’s total. The theme of this year’s World Malaria Day is, “Accelerate the fight against malaria for a more equitable world”.

World Malaria Day is also a timely reminder that malaria is a risk to Irish residents travelling to countries affected by malaria, and provides an opportunity to highlight to intending travellers the measures they can take to minimize their risk of contracting the disease. While the most highly malarious areas of the world are in Africa, countries in Asia and South America also pose a risk.

In 2023, 89 cases of malaria were reported in Ireland. This is an increase compared to 53 cases reported in 2022, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels. Eight cases in children under 18 years old were reported in 2023 in Ireland. Nigeria was the most commonly reported country of infection (n=10 cases) in 2023.  

This is an important opportunity to promote malaria prevention messages, as a large proportion of cases result from travel during summer months.

Children - especially under the age of five - are the group who, if they catch malaria are most likely to develop complications and die. It is important for parents - born in Western and Central African countries who live in Ireland and return to their country of origin with Irish-born children - to protect themselves and their children from malaria. This can be done by taking preventive medicine and avoiding mosquito bites every time they visit a malarious area. Children born in Ireland have no natural immunity to malaria and adult immunity to malaria can wane while living in Ireland.

When travelling to countries affected by malaria take personal preventive actions to avoid infection:

  • Use mosquito repellent
  • Sleep under bed nets
  • Wear full-sleeved protective clothing
  • Take anti-malarial medications

Further information
Protect yourself and your family against malaria -

Protect yourself and your family against biting mosquitoes -

Resources for health professionals on malaria are available on the HPSC website