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AREAS AFFECTED:

Areas of heightened disease reporting: LO HI

Malaria

Spread By Mosquitos

Data Source For Areas Affected

The maps designate countries considered to be affected by a disease. Areas within countries may or may not be affected by a specific disease. Consult with a Travel Healthcare Provider or www.cdc.gov/travel about your specific itinerary prior to travel.

Reporting activity data are provided by Sitata and derived from numerous sources, including official surveillance data and news reports. Reporting activity does not reflect current risk of infection with a disease. Not all areas report cases of disease; therefore, the absence of activity on the map does not indicate that a disease is not present. The relationship between the intensity of reporting activity and actual disease transmission is unknown and does not indicate a difference in risk. Maps do not reflect differential distribution of diseases within a country.

What Is It?

Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite.

Malaria is present in sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East. Symptoms may range from absent or mild to severe disease and even death. Typical symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, sweats, headaches, nausea and vomiting, body aches, and a general feeling of discomfort. Severe malaria can cause kidney failure, respiratory distress, shock, bleeding, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), and seizures. Severe malaria is more likely to occur in people who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised, pregnant women, and in people infected by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. When malaria is treated promptly, the likelihood of death is low. However, the likelihood of death is higher in people with severe malaria. Though there is no vaccine available to travelers, oral antimalarial drugs are recommended for prevention along with taking measures to avoid mosquito bites.

How is it Acquired?

Mosquitos carry and spread the parasite that causes malaria.

There are about 380 types of the mosquito that spread malaria, and about 60 of these types prefer biting humans. The mosquitos that spread malaria are most active between sunset and sunrise, and depending on the type, bite indoors or outdoors.

Environmental conditions play a role in the spread of malaria because they affect the number of mosquitos present and their survival. In many places, the spread of malaria is seasonal, peaking during and just after the rainy season.

Malaria can be spread in other ways, too. Babies can get malaria from their mothers through the placenta or during birth. Malaria can also be spread during a blood transfusion or organ transplant, though this is rare.

Certain people may have a higher likelihood of developing a severe form of the disease, including:

  • Non-immune people (such as travelers, laborers, and populations moving from low- transmission to high-transmission areas) and people living with HIV/AIDS
  • Older adults (≥50 years of age)
  • Pregnant women
  • Infants and children <5 years of age

Signs and Symptoms

Malaria is characterized by high fever.

Other symptoms of malaria include:

  • Chills
  • Sweats
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Body aches
  • A general feeling of discomfort

Severe malaria can cause kidney failure, respiratory distress, shock, bleeding, jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes), and seizures. Severe malaria is more likely to occur in people who are immunosuppressed or immunocompromised, pregnant women, and in people infected by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum.

When malaria is treated promptly, the likelihood of death is low. However, the likelihood increases in people with severe malaria.

Depending on the type of Plasmodium parasite that causes the infection, a person could have one or more relapses of disease. Relapses can occur after long periods without symptoms.

Precautions to Take

Avoiding mosquito bites may prove difficult, especially between sunset and sunrise when the mosquitos that spread malaria are most active.

Talk to your healthcare provider about ways to help minimize mosquito bites, such as:

  • Sleeping in a room with window/door screens
  • Using air conditioning
  • Using mosquito repellent on bare skin
  • Wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts, socks, and shoes
  • Treating clothes and shoes with mosquito repellent
  • Using a mosquito net treated with mosquito repellent over the bed

There is no malaria vaccine available to travelers. Oral antimalarial drugs are recommended for prevention along with taking measures to avoid mosquito bites.

Ask a healthcare provider if an antimalarial drug is recommended. Antimalarial drugs must be taken before, during, and after the trip.

Check out the Mosquito Protection Guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the American Mosquito Control Association for more information.

Also talk to a Travel Health Specialist about treatment options should you develop malaria while traveling.

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