What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious disease that causes a high fever and chills. You can get it from a bite by an infected mosquito. Malaria is rare in the United States. It is most often found in Africa, Southern Asia, Central America, and South America.
What causes malaria?
Malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with Reference parasites Opens New Window. In very rare cases, people can get malaria if they come into contact with infected blood. A developing Reference fetus Opens New Window may get the disease from its mother. You cannot get malaria just by being near a person who has the disease.
What are the symptoms?
Most malaria infections cause symptoms like the flu, such as a high fever, chills, and muscle pain. Symptoms tend to come and go in cycles. One type of malaria may cause more serious problems, such as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain. It can even be deadly.
How is malaria diagnosed?
Your doctor will order a blood test to check for the malaria parasite in your blood.
How is it treated?
Medicines usually can treat the illness. But some malaria parasites may survive because they are in your liver or they are Reference resistant to the medicine Opens New Window.
Call a doctor right away if you have been in an area where malaria is present, were exposed to mosquitoes, and get symptoms that are like the flu. These include a high fever, chills, and muscle pain.
How is malaria prevented?
You may be able to prevent malaria by taking medicine before, during, and after travel to an area where malaria is present. But using medicine to prevent malaria doesn't always work. This is partly due to the parasites being resistant to some medicines in some parts of the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Learning about malaria:
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 20, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Reference W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease