Malaria is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. If it isn’t diagnosed and treated promptly, it can be fatal.
A single mosquito bite is all it takes for someone to become infected.
Symptoms of malaria
It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of malaria if you’re travelling to areas where there’s a high risk of the disease. Symptoms include:
a high temperature (fever)
sweats and chills
Symptoms usually appear between 7 and 18 days after becoming infected, but in some cases the symptoms may not appear for up to a year, or occasionally even longer.
When to seek medical attention
Seek medical help immediately if you develop symptoms of malaria during or after a visit to an area where the disease is found.
Malaria risk areas
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, mainly in tropical regions of the world, including:
large areas of Africa and Asia
Central and South America
Haiti and the Dominican Republic
parts of the Middle East
some Pacific islands
The Fit for Travel website has more information about the risk of malaria in specific countries.
Many cases of malaria can be avoided. An easy way to remember is the ABCD approach to prevention:
awareness of risk – find out whether you’re at risk of getting malaria before travelling
bite prevention – avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, covering your arms and legs, and using an insecticide-treated mosquito net
check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets – if you do,make sure you take the right antimalarial tablets at the right dose, and finish the course
diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you develop malaria symptoms, as long as up to a year after you return from travelling