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What is Malaria?

What is Malaria?

February 16, 2023
What is Malaria?

Malaria is a severe disease that spreads when a mosquito infected by tiny parasites bites you. When it bites, the mosquito injects malaria parasites into your bloodstream. Malaria is caused by parasites, not by a virus or by a type of bacterium.

What is the Main Cause of Malaria?


When a mosquito bites someone who has Malaria, the mosquito becomes infected. When that mosquito bites someone else, it transfers a parasite to the other person’s bloodstream. There, the parasites multiply. Five types of malaria parasites can infect humans.

In rare cases, pregnant people with Malaria can transfer the disease to their children before or during birth. It’s possible, but unlikely, for Malaria to be passed through blood transfusions, organ donations and hypodermic needles.

What Are The Symptoms Of Malaria?

Signs and symptoms of Malaria are similar to flu symptoms. They include:

As Malaria gets worse, it can cause anaemia and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). The most severe form of Malaria, which may progress to a coma, is known as cerebral Malaria. This type represents about 15% of deaths in children and nearly 20% of adult deaths.

Malaria symptoms usually appear ten days to one month after the infected person. Depending on the type of parasite, symptoms can be mild. Some people don’t feel sick for up to a year after the mosquito bite. Parasites can sometimes live in the body for several years without causing symptoms.

Some types of Malaria, depending on the type of parasite, can occur again. The parasites are inactive in your liver and then are released into your bloodstream after years. The symptoms begin again when the parasites begin circulating.

What Is The Treatment For Malaria?

Malaria is treated with prescription drugs to kill the parasite. The types of drugs and the length of treatment will vary depending on the following:

Which type of malaria parasite do you have

  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Your age
  • Whether you’re pregnant

If you live in or are travelling to an area where Malaria is common, take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. To protect yourself from mosquito bites, you should:

  • Cover your skin. Wear pants and long-sleeved shirts. Tuck in your shirt, and tuck your pant legs into socks.
  • Sleep under a net. Bed nets, particularly those treated with insecticides such as permethrin, help prevent mosquito bites while you are sleeping.
  • Apply repellent to clothing. Sprays containing permethrin are safe to apply to clothing.
  • Apply insect repellent to the skin. Use an insect repellent registered with the Environmental Protection Agency on exposed skin. These include repellents containing DEET, picaridin, IR3535, lemon eucalyptus oil (OLE) oil, para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanoate. Do not use a spray directly on your face. Do not use products with OLE or PMD on children under age 3.

Medication used for Malaria may include:

  • Hydroxychloroquine – is a 4-Aminoquinoline Antimalarial with actions similar to those of Chloroquine. The drug works via multiple mechanisms, including interfering with enzyme activities that cause inflammation.

How dangerous is Malaria?

Leg Cramps

Malaria is a serious illness that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Severe complications of Malaria can occur within hours or days of the first symptoms. It means seeking urgent medical help as soon as possible is essential.

People at increased risk of severe disease include:

  • Young children and infants
  • Older adults
  • Travellers coming from areas with no malaria
  • Pregnant women and their unborn children

In many countries with high malaria rates, the problem is worsened by a lack of access to preventive measures, medical care and information. These include the tropical and subtropical regions of:

  • Sub-Saharan Africa
  • South and Southeast Asia
  • Pacific Islands
  • Central America and northern South America

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