“Spit here, please.”
Will this become the instruction we receive upon entering clinics, schools, apothecaries and ports of entry throughout the globe?
One of the main factors enabling the continued transmission of malaria are individuals who are free from symptoms but carry the malaria parasite in their blood. However, the parasite numbers in the blood are so low they cannot be detected by current diagnostic tests. Since these individuals are not sick and do not visit a clinic, the true size of this parasite reservoir in the human population is unknown.
Globalization complicates the situation further. Individuals with asymptomatic infections can now unwittingly carry malaria parasites across borders, on airplanes, ships and trucks. As individuals who carry the malaria parasite frequently move in and out of countries that are malaria-free, there is always the risk of mosquitoes biting these infected individuals, picking up the parasite and triggering local transmission of the disease.