Malaria

Medical Term: Malaria 

Danger Zone: Central America, South America, Asia, and Africa, as well as any tropical or sub-tropical areas.

Transmission: Malaria is transmitted by mosquitoes.

What is it: Malaria is a common parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes.

Symptoms: Malaria symptoms can initially look like a common flu with fever and chills, but can progress rapidly into seizures, kidney problems, and coma. A blood test determines whether a patient has malaria.

Prevention: Mosquito bite prevention is the best malaria prevention, since there is currently no malaria vaccination available (though research is always changing, so always check). There are also prophylactic drugs available to lessen your chances of contracting malaria. Always consult a medical professional regarding malaria if you'll be visiting a high risk area.

Fatal: Malaria can be fatal, though this is largely preventable with proper treatment.

Malaria is a major concern in the field of international public health, with 350 to 500 million infections each year and over one million deaths per year. Sadly, most of these deaths occur in children under the age of five in sub-Saharan Africa.

It is important to keep check current information on malaria as the global malaria situation is always changing. Consult the Center for Disease Control to find out whether your vacation destination is a high-risk area for malaria. During your trip, if you think you're experiencing malaria symptoms and have been bitten by mosquitoes, get tested immediately.

As with all diseases with mosquitoes acting as vectors, prevention aside from vaccines includes packing or purchasing proper bug netting, staying away from extreme mosquito populations, and using insect repellant and/or covering bare skin. This is especially true due to the current lack of a malaria vaccination.

Note: Always consult your doctor or another qualified medical professional for the best information about international travel vaccinations.

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