Malaria is a disease spread through parasite-infected mosquitos. Those with malaria become very sick with fevers, chills, and flu-like symptoms. Malaria can be a fatal disease, although death can be prevented with proper identification and treatment. The majority of malaria cases in the United States are from those who travel to countries in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
How is it transmitted?
Malaria is a disease primarily spread via the bite of an infected mosquito. The mosquito is infected by a parasite. In rare cases, it can be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, or needles and syringes that involved infected blood.
Signs and Symptoms
Malaria is often misdiagnosed because the signs and symptoms may be delayed well after return from travel. Always inform a healthcare provider of any travel within the last twelve months. Common symptoms of malaria include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches
Methods to treat the symptoms of malaria:
- A variety of prescribed drugs are used to combat the malaria parasite.
- Treatment will vary depending on the type of parasite, geographic area of infection, and the health of the patient.
- Always consult with a healthcare provider before taking any additional drugs.
The most important thing in protecting yourself against malaria is the prevention of mosquito bites in countries with malaria transmission.
- There are prescription medications that must be taken before, during, and after the trip.
- Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants
- Sleep under a mosquito net
- Correctly apply and reapply mosquito repellant
- Sexual transmission of many infections, including Zika virus, is reduced by consistent and correct use of condoms.
Pregnant women and women who may become pregnant should consider postponing travel to areas where malaria transmission is ongoing. Malaria has amplified negative effects on pregnant women because of their lower immune response. There is an increase in maternal and perinatal birth complications and increased morbidity and mortality rates from malaria.
If Sexually Active
Malaria cannot be sexually transmitted, but it can be transmitted through needles or syringes contaminated with malaria infected blood.
If you think you have malaria or have been in close contact with someone who has confirmed malaria, please contact Student Health Service 215-746-3535, press option 3 to speak with a nurse.