• Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Learn how to prevent malaria when traveling abroad.

Malaria Prevention

Many travelers to tropical countries are concerned about the possibility of contracting malaria, a potentially fatal infection transmitted by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. While malaria is most common in Africa, the disease occurs in over 100 countries.

Quick Guide25 Ways to Stay Well Abroad in Pictures

25 Ways to Stay Well Abroad in Pictures

Malaria facts

  • More than 210 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide in 2015.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that 438,000 people died of malaria in 2015; the vast majority are young children in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • This is a significant decrease in deaths since 2000 due to increased prevention and control measures.
  • About 1,500-2,000 people are diagnosed in the U.S. each year, usually in travelers returning from endemic areas.
  • Malaria was a serious public-health threat in the U.S. until it was eliminated during the 1920s-1940s. Much of the early work done by the CDC focused on controlling and eliminating malaria in the U.S.

What is malaria?

Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease spread by mosquitoes and caused by a parasite. Malaria was a significant health risk in the U.S. until it was eliminated by multiple programs in the late 1940s. The illness presents with flu-like symptoms that include high fever and chills.

There are three necessary aspects to the malaria life cycle:

  1. The Anopheles mosquito carries the parasite and is where the parasite starts its life cycle.
  2. The parasite (Plasmodium) has multiple subspecies, each causing a different severity of symptoms and responding to different treatments.
  3. The parasite first travels to a human's liver to grow and multiply. It then travels in the bloodstream and infects and destroys red blood cells.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016

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