Since ancient times, malaria has been posing a grave threat to the mankind in terms of morbidity, mortality and economic adversity. This infectious disease is caused by protozoan parasites from Plasmodium family and transmitted by infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It afflicts people from all age groups across tropical and sub- tropical regions in the world. Presently, malaria is endemic in 104 countries.Though, in the past decade the fight against this preventable disease has been intensified worldwide and as a result , during 2000-2012 the global malarial mortality and incidence rates have declined by about 42% and 25% respectively; this deadly disease has still inflicted an estimated 207 million cases and taken 627 000 lives around the world while leaving nearly 3.4 billion people at risk of contracting the infection in 2012.
India, being a malaria endemic zone, confronts this protozoan disease perennially. India’s wide-spread geography, ecological diversity and climatic variability make it an ideal place for malaria parasites and their vectors to sustain. The disease which was earlier confined only to rural areas has now taken different forms like urban, industrial, plains and forest malaria, thereby increasing national burden. Currently, about 95% of the 1.21 billion population of India is at risk of malarial infection [6, 7]. An estimated 1.5 million cases and 1000 deaths are attributed to malaria annually in this region[6, 8]. In year 2012, India contributed about 52% of the total cases out of the 2 million confirmed malaria cases in South- East Asia . However, in the last decade, India has made good progress in controlling the disease witnessing a declining trend in overall endemicity of malaria . During 2001-2012, the country recorded a decrease in cases from 2.08 million to 1.06 million, while the malarial deaths have come down from 1005 to 519 in the same period. However, the actual malaria cases and deaths are always greater than reported [5, 6, 9]. According to the World Malaria Report 2013 projection, India is likely to reduce the malaria case incidence by 50-75% by 2015. This progressive development in malaria situation can be attributed to several factors namely increased political commitment; concerted national and international efforts and tremendous expansion in financing through public-private partnerships. [2, 10].
The epidemiology of malaria in India, which comprises 29 states and 7 Union Territories (UTs), is complex and uneven spatially and temporally. The intra and interstate divergence in topographic and climatic factors greatly influence the diversity and distribution of malarial parasites and their vectors. The north-east, central and eastern states of India are the high malaria transmission zones accounting for nearly 80% of total malaria incidence and deaths reported in the country. Among these the worst affected state is Odisha.