CountryRepublic of Korea

The Republic of Korea is a densely populated country that is categorized in the malaria elimination phase by the World Health Organization (WHO). The entire Korean Peninsula was declared free of malaria in 1979; but malaria re-emerged in 1993 and cases in the Republic of Korea increased rapidly, peaking in 2000 at 4,183. Since then, the Republic of Korea has achieved an 87% decline in cases, reporting just 560 local cases in 2014. 

Plasmodium vivax is the only malaria parasite present in the Korean Peninsula, causing unstable seasonal transmission from May through October. Anopheles sinensis was previously thought to be the primary vector in the Republic of Korea. However, more recent data has implicated An. pullus and An. kleini as primary vectors, with An. sinensis playing a secondary role in transmission. Most cases are concentrated in the northern provinces of Gangwon and Gyeonggi, as well as the Incheon Metropolitan Area. Adult males serving in the military are at greatest risk for malaria since most transmission occurs along the length of the northern demilitarized zone (DMZ) bordering the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).

Quick facts

  • 14% of the population living in areas of active transmission (total population: 50.1 million)
  • 560 confirmed cases of malaria and 0 deaths in 2014
  • 0.01 Annual Parasite Index (cases/1,000 population/year)
  • Dominant malaria species: P. vivax (100%)
  • Elimination goal: zero indigenous cases and zero deaths by 2017