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Diseases & Topics


Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito. The parasite can be transmitted to people through the bite of an infected mosquito. About 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites through the use of repellents or insecticide-treated bed nets, and by taking specific anti-malarial medicines before and during trips to countries where malaria is found. Before traveling, people who are going to such countries should ask their health care provider or local health department how to protect themselves from illness. Malaria symptoms may take months to develop, so travelers to such areas who later become ill should notify their doctor of their travel history.

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