- Is Malaria Contagious? Center
- Bacterial Infections 101 Pictures Slideshow
- Take the Tummy Trouble Quiz
- Hepatitis C Slideshow Pictures
- Patient Comments: Is Malaria Contagious? - Experience
- Find a local Doctor in your town
What is malaria?
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites that invade red blood cells. The protozoan parasites are among several species of the genus Plasmodium. This malaria parasite is transmitted by mosquitoes (vectors) to humans through mosquito bites that, during the bite, release parasites into the person's blood. Malaria is characterized by cycles of chills, high fever, and sweating.
Is malaria contagious?
No, malaria is not contagious. Malaria is not spread from person to person and is not sexually transmitted. Malaria is not contagious through casual contact or through kissing. It is not considered a sexual transmitted disease (STD). Malaria is transmitted from mosquitoes to humans. There is one strain of the parasite Plasmodium, P. knowlesi, that can be transmitted from monkeys (macaques) by mosquitoes to humans and is termed "zoonotic" malaria.
What is the incubation period for malaria?
The time period from initial parasite infection to the appearance of symptoms varies according to the particular species of Plasmodium that infects an individual. For example, P. malariae ranges from about 18-40 days, while P. falciparum ranges from nine to 14 days, and 12-18 days for P. vivax and P. ovale. Initial symptoms of malaria may include shaking chills, high fevers, sweating, headaches, nausea and vomiting, anemia, and/or diarrhea. Diagnostic tests include microscopic examination of the blood for the presence of parasites, serology, PCR testing, and other tests that determine if the parasite is resistant to certain drugs.
Travelers returning from malaria-endemic areas should remind health-care providers about their travels for at least one year after they have returned from that area of the world to avoid potentially missing the diagnosis of the disease.
How does malaria spread?
The majority of malarial infections are spread or transmitted to humans by infected mosquitoes that take a blood meal from humans. During this blood meal, Plasmodium parasites are regurgitated by the mosquito into the person's blood vessels. The parasites require both mosquitoes and humans to go through a complete and complex lifecycle that involves several life stages for development and maturation of the parasites. Malaria is not transmitted person to person. Although it is an infectious disease, it is not communicable in most instances to uninfected individuals. It is possible to transmit malaria through blood transfusions, to a fetus, or by organ donation. However, control measures have markedly reduced such transmissions.
How long does malaria last, and how long will it take to be cured of malaria?
Treatment of malaria depends on the number of different factors that include disease severity, the particular species of Plasmodium infecting the patient and the potential for drug resistance of the various species and strains of Plasmodium. In general, it takes about two weeks of treatment to be cured of malaria. However, in some individuals, relapses are possible.
When should people seek medical care for a suspected malaria infection?
If an individual has visited or lived in an area where malaria is endemic (including parts of Africa, Asia, and Latin America) and subsequently develops a headache, high fever that comes and goes, fatigue, body aches, and/or shaking chills (rigors) and cough, he or she should seek immediate medical attention. Patients should tell medical caregivers if they have lived in or traveled to areas where malaria is endemic. This will help the medical caregivers to order appropriate tests to confirm malaria. The most severe problems (pulmonary edema, kidney failure, brain injury, death) are seen mainly with P. falciparum infections.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
United States. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Malaria." June 26, 2018. <https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/>.
Top Is Malaria Contagious Related Articles
Aches, Pain, FeverAlthough a fever technically is any body temperature above the normal of 98.6 F (37 C), in practice, a person is usually not considered to have a significant fever until the temperature is above 100.4 F (38 C). Fever is part of the body's own disease-fighting arsenal; rising body temperatures apparently are capable of killing off many disease-producing organisms.
AnemiaAnemia is the condition of having less than the normal number of red blood cells or less than the normal quantity of hemoglobin in the blood. The oxygen-carrying capacity of the blood is, therefore, decreased. There are several types of anemia such as iron deficiency anemia (the most common type), sickle cell anemia, vitamin B12 anemia, pernicious anemia, and aplastic anemia. Symptoms of anemia may include fatigue, malaise, hair loss, palpitations, menstruation, and medications. Treatment for anemia includes treating the underlying cause for the condition. Iron supplements, vitamin B12 injections, and certain medications may also be necessary.
chloroquine-oralAralen is the brand name for the generic drug chloroquine, an anti-malaria drug used to treat malaria and amebiasis infection that's spread outside of the intestines. Dosage, drug interactions, and pregnancy and breastfeeding safety information should be reviewed prior to taking this drug.
DiarrheaDiarrhea is a change is the frequency and looseness of bowel movements. Symptoms associated with diarrhea are cramping, abdominal pain, and the sensation of rectal urgency. Causes of diarrhea include viral, bacterial, or parasite infection, gastroenteritis, food poisoning, and drugs. Absorbents and anti-motility medications are used to treat diarrhea.
Headaches can be divided into two categories: primary headaches and secondary headaches. Migraine headaches, tension headaches, and cluster headaches are considered primary headaches. Secondary headaches are caused by disease. Headache symptoms vary with the headache type. Over-the-counter pain relievers provide short-term relief for most headaches.
Malaria FactsMalaria is a disease that is spread by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, and body aches. Treatment involves supportive care and antibiotics.
Nausea and Vomiting
Nausea is an uneasiness of the stomach that often precedes vomiting. Nausea and vomiting are not diseases, but they are symptoms of many conditions. There are numerous cases of nausea and vomiting. Some causes may not require medical treatment, for example, motion sickness, and other causes may require medical treatment by a doctor, for example, heart attack, lung infections, bronchitis, and pneumonia.
Some causes of nausea and vomiting may be life threatening, for example, heart attack, abdominal obstruction, and cancers.
Treatment of nausea and vomiting depends upon the cause.
pyrimethamine-oralPyrimethamine (Daraprim) is a drug prescribed to treat Toxoplasma gondii (toxoplasmosis) and plasmodia (malaria) infections. Side effects, drug interactions, dosage, storage, and pregnancy and breastfeeding information should be reviewed prior to taking any medication.