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Protective measures, causes and symptoms to look out for if traveling to a place where malaria is common

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Malaria is spread through mosquitoes and can be fatal if it is not treated quickly. 

The disease is rare in the United States, with just about 2,000 cases each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

Throughout the world, there were 619,000 people who died from the disease in 2021, according to the World Health Organization (WHO). Most deaths due to malaria happen in Africa. 

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Young children, pregnant women and those traveling to countries where malaria is more common are all at higher risk of fatality due to malaria. 

Below is more information about malaria, and preventative measures you can take if traveling to a place where the disease is more common. 

Mosquito on skin

Malaria is mainly transmitted through mosquitoes in hot and humid climates. (iStock)

  1. What are the main causes of malaria?
  2. Is malaria treatable?
  3. What are the symptoms of malaria?
  4. How can you lower malaria risk during travel?

1. What are the main causes of malaria?

Malaria is a disease that is mainly spread among humans by a certain type of mosquito, the female Anopheles mosquito. 

Malaria is contracted by humans when they are bitten by a mosquito that is infected. 

The parasites in the mosquito will then enter the bloodstream of the person it bites and then go on to the liver. 

2. Is malaria treatable?

Malaria is treatable and it is vital to treat it quickly to stop the disease from becoming fatal. 

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How malaria is treated depends on many different factors. 

The treatment option best suited for a certain patient depends on things like the area of infection, history of drug allergies, other medications being taken and the type of infecting parasite, according to the CDC. 

Mosquito bite woman

Malaria is treatable and needs to be addressed quickly to prevent it from being fatal. (iStock)

3. What are the symptoms of malaria?

Symptoms of malaria usually start to appear 10 days after a person is first infected, though they could appear earlier, or even a year later, according to the CDC.  

Common malaria symptoms include fever, sweating, chills, headache, fatigue, chest pain, difficulty breathing, cough, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. 

4. How can you lower malaria risk during travel?

If you are traveling to a place where malaria is more common, there are several preventative measures you can take to protect yourself from the disease. 

Person applies bug spray outside

Wearing repellent and long clothing can help protect you against malaria. (iStock)

Malaria is typically more common in places with hot and humid climates. 

Africa, specifically south of the Sahara, and parts of Oceania are all among the places with the highest rate of transmission. 

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If you are traveling to a place where you’ll be more exposed, you can check the CDC website and see if it is reccommended to take malaria medicine before, during and after your trip. 

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Also, while you are at a destination with higher transmission, make sure you are always applying an EPA-registered insect repellent to best protect yourself against bites. 

Mosquito on arm

When traveling to a foreign country where malaria is more common, you may want to look into taking medicine before, during and after your arrival. (iStock)

You can also do things like wear clothing with lots of coverage, such as long shirts and pants, and sleep under a mosquito net if you are going to be outside. 

For more Lifestyle articles, visit foxnews.com/lifestyle.


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