Doctor's Notes on Malaria
Malaria is a parasitic infection that is spread by mosquito bites. The malaria infection is caused by five species of Plasmodium parasites that are found in different locations in the world. Malaria is primarily found in subtropical and tropical climates. It is not common in areas with temperate climates. The species of parasite that causes the most severe disease is found in sub-Saharan Africa.
Symptoms of malaria can vary. It usually takes between seven and 30 days (the average is seven to 15 days) after being bitten by the infected mosquito before symptoms develop. Symptoms associated with uncomplicated malaria include fever, chills, nausea, vomiting, headaches, and body aches. The symptoms may occur in waves sometimes called attacks. Severe or complicated malaria may progress to life-threatening symptoms such as seizures, unconsciousness, kidney failure, and failure of the cardiovascular system.
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Foreign TravelIt is important to plan well in advance when traveling to a foreign country. Travelers should protect (and prepare) themselves from illness by obtaining the appropriate vaccinations and bringing along a traveler's medical kit that contains: prescription medications, first aid supplies, sanitary napkins/tampons (for women), sunscreen, insect repellents, motion sickness medication, pain remedies, cold remedies, and foot care products.
Immunizations and Antibiotics for Overseas TravelMost immunizations are not required under International Health Requirements but are recommended. Anyone lacking certain region- or country-specific immunizations may be denied entry into or exit from a country.
Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.