US Malaria Deaths, 1870
While malaria still kills over 1 million people each year, most of those deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa—the United States has been free of the disease since 1951. In the 19th century, however, malaria was extremely common within the United States, with over 1 million cases reported during the Civil War alone. The map below depicts deaths from malaria in 1870—10 years before the malaria parasite was even discovered.
#1 - Believed to have been brought to the Americas by Europeans in the late 1600s, malaria primarily impacted those in the Southeast and port cities, but extended as far north as the Dakotas, says Margaret Humphreys, a history of medicine professor at Duke University.
#2 - Of the five species of the Plasmodium parasite that can cause malaria, P. falciparum and P. vivax were the most common in the United States. “The malaria that is shown...