On World Malaria Day we’re reading about a disease that highlights health system and service gaps, and why that matters more than ever

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The road ahead to malaria eradication – As CDC Malaria Branch Chief Patrick Kachur notes here, today’s theme of “End Malaria for Good” is catchy, but, if one is to take it seriously, requires a look at the threats to controlling, let alone eliminating the disease in areas where resources have remained limited. The continued work to improve diagnostic, surveillance and effective treatment capacities he describes will bring dividends not only on the malaria front, but on building better defenses against emerging infectious diseases.

Malaria Surveillance: Report on Continuous Medical Education of Health Workers – This report from MEASURE Evaluation of an initiative to train, mentor and provide continuing education for health workers to help build the skills and systems necessary to malaria surveillance gives a glimpse of current gaps, including in laboratory practices, documentation, and analysis that allow outbreaks to go untracked, and leave health responders unready. It also shows how these gaps can be filled with ongoing support.

Travelers bring malaria back to U.S. with high costs – This article on findings recently published in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene indicates the number of malaria cases among people returning from visits to endemic areas are higher than estimated here, and how surveillance gaps in the U.S. as well, leave malaria undiagnosed, untreated, and deadly.

Why the menace of mosquitos will only get worse – From a 2009 dengue outbreak in Florida, to a 2012 West Nile Virus outbreak in Texas, to the arrival here in the last year of Zika, noted science and health writer Maryn McKenna explains how climate change, as well as poverty and municipal neglect in some of the most vulnerable regions are fueling the threats posed by mosquito-born diseases in the U.S. and why distance provides no protection from the next outbreak, wherever it may originate.

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