The term Malaria means bad air

Malaria comes from the medieval Italian words “mal” and “aria,” meaning “bad air.”

What Does Malaria Mean?

The term malaria comes from two medieval Italian words “mal” and “aria,” which when put together mean “bad air.” This came about before people understood that the disease was passed from a parasite carried by misquotes who lived in the wet ground, and not through “the bad air of swamps”.[1]

In 1897 Britain’s Sir Ronald Ross, an army surgeon working in Secunderabad, India, was the first person to prove that malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes, an event now commemorated via World Mosquito Day.[2]

Malaria is one of the more deadly diseases in the history of mankind. Learn more about malaria and mortality, or simply watch the video below.

This documentary by The BMJ discusses the history of malaria, showing that people did not understand misquotes were involved until the 19th century.

A MosquitoOnly the female Mosquito from the Anopheles genus can spread Malaria.


Malaria comes from the medieval Italian words “mal” and “aria,” which mean “bad air.” Although we know it wasn’t the “bad air” of the swamps that caused Malaria, the correlation was accurate as the swamps were breeding grounds for misquotes that would have carried Malaria.


  1. What is the Meaning of the Word “Malaria”?“. Retrieved Jan 7, 2016.
  2. History of Malaria“. Retrieved Jan 7, 2016.

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