DefinitionMalaria is a disease passed through the blood. It is typically passed to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito but can also be passed from mother to unborn child or during a blood transfusion from an infected donor.
CausesMalaria is caused by a specific type of parasite.Most often, a mosquito picks up the parasite when it bites someone with malaria. The mosquito can pass the parasite to a new person when it bites them.
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Risk FactorsLiving in or traveling to hot, humid climates where Anopheles mosquitoes are common is the most common risk factor for malaria. Africa, Asia, and Latin America all have areas where malaria is common. Your chance of getting malaria increases dramatically if prevention steps are not taken.
SymptomsThere are no symptoms in the early stage of infection.Symptoms usually begin within 10 days to 4 weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. Symptoms may include:
- Recurrent fevers—as high as 106° F (41.1° C)
- Chills and sweats
- Muscles aches
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Yellow coloring of the eyes and skin— jaundice
- Dark or discolored urine
DiagnosisYou will be asked about your symptoms, medical history, and travel history. A physical exam will be done. Malaria will be diagnosed with blood tests. The blood test will also help identify the specific type of parasite causing your infection.
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