Malaria is a serious disease caused by a parasite. The most common way to contract the disease is by being bitten by an infected mosquito. Though the most severe forms of malaria are fatal, it can be successfully treated if diagnosed early on.
Malaria was all but eliminated from the United States in the 1950s, but Americans continue to contract the disease when travelling internationally, especially in Africa and South Asia.
Symptoms of Malaria
Symptoms of uncomplicated malaria can sometimes be similar to the flu -- fever, sweating, weakness, headaches, nausea and vomiting, malaise and rapid breathing. Jaundice or an enlarged spleen or liver can also occur. When malaria is severe, however, the complications become much worse and can be life-threatening. These can include seizures and coma, severe blood and breathing problems and kidney failure. Severe malaria is a medical emergency that demands immediate treatment.
Prevention and Treatment
People traveling to an area where malaria infection is a risk can take steps to minimize their chances of contracting the disease. Wearing protective clothing, using mosquito netting, applying bug repellent and taking anti-malaria medications can all help. But, if you contract flu-like or other worrisome symptoms after traveling in a malaria-prone area, it’s important to see a doctor as soon as possible. Various medications can treat the parasite in the blood and work to end the infection. Treatment is usually successfully once malaria has been diagnosed, but catching and treating it early gives you the best chance for a good outcome.
SOUCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Drug is first to be approved since discontinuation of quinine in 2019