Shrinking the Malaria Map

UCSF Global Health Group’s Malaria Elimination Initiative (MEI)

Democratic People's Republic of Korea

DPRK, which was malaria-free from the early 1970s to 1997, reported 6,805 cases of local malaria transmission in 2015 and is working to achieve elimination by 2025.

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) achieved a 92% reduction in malaria cases between 2000 and 2015, from 90,582 reported cases in 2000 to 6,805 local malaria cases in 2015. DPRK first eliminated malaria in the early 1970s and remained malaria-free until cases reemerged in 1998 and quickly spread along the border with the Republic of Korea. Malaria cases are reported throughout the country, except in the three northern provinces of Jagang, Ryangagn, and North Hamgyong. The majority of cases occur in the three provinces bordering the demilitarized zone between DPRK and the Republic of Korea. Plasmodium vivax is the only malaria parasite found in DPRK.

Malaria in DPRK is unstable and seasonal, with more than 95% of annual cases in the past few years reported from May to October, peaking in the summer months. About 70% of all malaria cases occur among overnight workers in the agricultural and industrial sectors, and, as observed in other Asia Pacific countries, most of the at-risk population resides in rural areas. No malaria deaths have been reported in DPRK in more than 30 years, and mass chemoprophylactic efforts--called Mass Primaquine Preventive Treatment (MPPT)--have been credited for the successful reduction of malaria burden to low levels relative to the 2001 peak. In light of this progress in reducing transmission, DPRK launched a national malaria pre-elimination strategy in 2009 and updated it in 2012, emphasizing microstratification of risk areas, geographical reconnaissance to improve targeting of interventions, intensified surveillance, and community education, with an ultimate goal of national elimination by 2025. DPRK is also a country partner of the Asia Pacific Malaria Elimination Network (APMEN).

6,805 # of cases (2015)
Elimination goal
Income level
Reported cases
Reported cases
P vivax transmission limit (2010)
P vivax transmission limit (2010)

Challenges to elimination