Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness.
Malaria breeds mostly in warmer climates, where there is an abundance of humidity and rain. Malaria is not a contagious disease; it cannot be contracted through contact with an infected person, sexually or otherwise.
Malaria can occur if a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. There are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans: Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum.
However, two of them are considered the most dangerous:
1. P.falciparum – the most common malaria parasite in Africa. This species multiplies very quickly – causing severe blood loss and clogged blood vessels
2. P.vivax – most commonly found outside of sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Asia. This species can lie dormant – rise up to infect your blood months of years after the mosquito bite
Malaria is transmitted by blood, so it can also be transmitted through: an organ transplant, transfusion, and use of shared needles or syringes. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her baby at birth. This is known as congenital malaria.
Malaria signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. A malaria infection is generally characterized by recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms:
● Moderate to severe shaking chills
● High fever