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Malaria

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Malaria is a serious disease that causes a high fever and chills. You can get it from a bite by an infected mosquito. Malaria is rare in the United States. It is most often found in Africa, Southern Asia, Central America, and South America.

Malaria is caused by a bite from a mosquito infected with parasites. In very rare cases, people can get malaria if they come into contact with infected blood. A developing fetus may get the disease from its mother. You cannot get malaria just by being near a person who has the disease.

Most malaria infections cause symptoms like the flu, such as a high fever, chills, and muscle pain. Symptoms tend to come and go in cycles. Some types of malaria may cause more serious problems, such as damage to the heart, lungs, kidneys, or brain. These types can be deadly.

Your doctor will order a blood test to check for the malaria parasite in your blood.

Medicines usually can treat the illness. But some malaria parasites may survive because they are in your liver or they are resistant to the medicine.

Get medical help right away if you have been in an area where malaria is present, were exposed to mosquitoes, and get symptoms that are like the flu. These include a high fever, chills, and muscle pain.

You may be able to prevent malaria by taking medicine before, during, and after travel to an area where malaria is present. But using medicine to prevent malaria doesn't always work. This is partly due to the parasites being resistant to some medicines in some parts of the world.

Learning about malaria:

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: April 11, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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