Shrinking the Malaria Map

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


Paraguay has reported zero local malaria cases since 2012 and is seeking malaria-free certification from the World Health Organization.

Paraguay reported its last local malaria case in 2011. In 2013, 11 cases were reported; all were imported and 64% were Plasmodium falciparum infections. Local transmission of P. falciparum was halted in 1996, and all local cases through 2011 were due to P. vivax. The last reported malaria-related death in Paraguay occurred in 1999.

The majority of local cases in recent years have occurred in Paraguay’s southeastern provinces of Alto Paraná and Caaguazú, which border Brazil. Increased agriculture in Alto Paraná has led to extensive deforestation and the creation of ideal breeding conditions for malaria vectors; dam construction and uncontrolled population movement in this area has further increased the risk of transmission. The populations at greatest risk for malaria are forest workers and highly mobile indigenous groups like the Guarani who live in rural areas at or below the poverty line and have limited access to health services.

Paraguay’s National Program for Malaria Control switched its focus to elimination in 2011 with the launch of its National Plan for Malaria Elimination 2011-2015. Elimination strategies outlined in this plan prioritize strong case management over traditional vector control interventions, and have a robust community engagement and education component. These strategies have proven highly effective in interrupting and sustaining zero transmission since 2011, and in October 2014, Paraguay initiated proceedings with WHO to achieve certification of its malaria-free status.

0 # of cases (2014)
Elimination goal
Upper middle
Income level
Reported cases
Reported cases
P vivax transmission limit (2010)
P vivax transmission limit (2010)

Challenges to elimination