Malaria is a significant health risk to all people who travel in malaria-endemic areas of the world. Symptoms of the disease include fever, chills, headaches, malaise, and sweats, all of which may occur at different intervals following exposure. Malaria also may be associated with anemia and jaundice.
Malaria may cause kidney failure, coma, and death, although, with proper and early treatment, death can be prevented.
Depending upon the type of malaria, symptoms can develop as early as eight days, or as long as several months after the first exposure.
What causes Malaria?
Malaria is due to a parasite that is transmitted by the bite of the infected female Anopheles mosquito. While less common, malaria can be transferred through blood transfusions or from an infected mother to a fetus.
How can I avoid contracting Malaria?
The first step is to find out if you will be traveling in a country that is malaria-endemic. Then talk with your physician or nurse practitioner to decide what preventive medications and precautions you should take.
Because of nocturnal feeding habits of Anopheles mosquitos, malaria transmission occurs primarily between dusk and dawn. Learn more about avoiding insect bites permethrin kills mosquitoes.
Despite the personal protective measures and medication to help protect against malaria, travelers to malaria-risk areas should be informed that no measure guarantees complete protection against malaria.
Malaria can be effectively treated early in its course, but delay may result in a serious or even fatal outcome. Travelers should seek medical attention immediately if fever develops during or after a visit to an area where malaria exists.
Which medications should I use to prevent malaria?
Currently, there are four medications that are used to prevent malaria. If you are traveling to a malaria-risk area, your doctor or nurse practitioner will discuss which one of these medications will be the right one for you to take.