Malaria is a serious and occasionally fatal disease that is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. Malaria is caused by a parasite in a group of parasites called Plasmodium. There are 5 different kinds of parasites in this group that can cause the disease.
What is my risk?
Your risk depends on several factors: destination, length of trip, and your living conditions. Speak with one of our Travel Health Specialists to understand the risk of malaria for your trip.
Travellers are at risk in areas where malaria occurs. This includes regions of Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South and Central America, and the South Pacific and Oceania region.
How is it transmitted?
Malaria is spread to people by the bite of a female mosquito infected with malaria parasites. This type of mosquito bites from sunset to sunrise.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms usually appear between 1 to 4 weeks but can take up to a year to develop. Depending on the type of malaria parasite and previous existing conditions, different time periods may occur.
Symptoms of malaria are often similar to those of the flu, and include:
- sweats or chills
- nausea and vomiting
- muscle and stomach pain
If not treated, malaria can progress to severe illness. In more severe cases, complications may include:
- respiratory failure
- renal failure, also known as blackwater fever
Malaria can be fatal if not treated urgently and aggressively.
Can malaria be treated?
Malaria can be treated with anti-malarial medications.
Treatment depends on different factors, such as the type of malaria parasite and the severity of the disease.
If the disease is identified early and treated, almost all cases can be completely cured.
See a health care provider immediately if you have a fever or flu-like symptoms during your trip or up to a year after you return home. Be sure to tell your health care provider about your travel history
Speak with one of our Travel Health Specialists preferably six weeks before you travel.
Protect yourself from mosquito bites, especially from sunset to sunrise.
Take anti-malarial medication. Discuss whether preventative medication is right for your with one of our Travel Health Specialists. Anti-malarial drugs can be prescribed before your trip. They must be taken before, during and after your travels to help prevent malaria.