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About Malaria

By Victoria Harding


Many people attract malaria, a life threatening disease, during travel to tropical and subtropical countries. Malaria occurs in most of sub-Saharan Africa, southern and southeast Asia, Mexico, Haiti, the Dominican Republic, Central and South America, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, and the Solomon Islands. Major cities is Asia and South America are nearly malaria free; cities in Africa, India, and Pakistan are not. There is generally less risk of malaria at altitudes above 1500 meters.

Symptoms of malaria are flu-like and may include fever, chills, muscle aches, headache, and vomiting, diarrhea, and coughing. Patients with severe falciparum malaria may develop liver and kidney failure, convulsions, and coma. At first, symptoms may be mild. Malaria should be suspected if the traveler has fever or any of the above symptoms between 1 week after the first possible exposure to infected mosquitoes and several months after the last exposure.

If Malaria is suspected, medical help must be sought immediately. A blood sample should be taken to check for malaria parasites.

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