Malaria

  • 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.

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Is malaria contagious?

Malaria is not spread from person to person (except in pregnancy as noted below below) but can be spread in certain circumstances without a mosquito. This occurs rarely and is usually found in a transmission from the mother to the unborn child (congenital malaria), by blood transfusions, or when intravenous-drug users share needles.

What is the incubation period for malaria?

Following the mosquito bite, there is about a seven- to 30-day period before symptoms appear (incubation period). P. falciparum usually has a short incubation period.

What causes malaria?

Parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria. Although there are many species of Plasmodium, only five infect humans and cause malaria.

P. falciparum: found in tropical and subtropical areas; major contributor to deaths from severe malaria

P. vivax: found in Asia and Latin America; has a dormant stage that can cause relapses

P. ovale: found in Africa and the Pacific islands

P. malariae: worldwide; can cause a chronic infection

P. knowlesi: found throughout Southeast Asia; can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/26/2016

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