Malaria

What is malaria?

Malaria is a severe febrile illness caused by plasmodia, a type of parasite. There are several types of malaria, with malaria tropica being the most serious. Malaria is transmitted by nocturnal Anopheles mosquitoes (meaning risk for transmission is highest at dawn, dusk and nighttime). Initial symptoms include fever, aching limbs, nausea and a feeling of weakness, but serious complications such as seizures, shock and coma can occur as the disease progresses. If malaria is left untreated, up to 20% of cases can be fatal. However, if treatment is provided in time, this number improves to a fatality rate of only 1%.

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In which countries does malaria occur?

Malaria occurs in tropical regions worldwide, with Africa having the most cases. Other areas of infection are found in Latin America and Southeast Asia.

When and how often should I be vaccinated against Malaria?

Currently there is no vaccination against malaria available for travelers. There is only one malaria vaccine available worldwide, but it is only used for children in endemic regions. The vaccination protection is comparatively low and only partially protects against severe malaria. For travelers in high-risk areas,  a medical malaria prophylaxis or emergency therapy is available.

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What else should I know about malaria?

  • If you develop a temperature of > 37.5°C after a trip, you should immediately go to a doctor and have a blood test for malaria performed! This applies regardless of whether you have taken the prophylactic malaria medication or not.

  • The symptoms are difficult to distinguish from other diseases at the beginning. Only a blood test can tell for sure if you have malaria or another disease, such as dengue.

  • Symptoms appear first 7 days after transmission, although it can also take months before the first symptoms occur. If you develop a fever after visiting a malaria risk area, please consult a specialist.

  • Anti-malaria medication as prophylaxis can be advisable for travelers in at-risk areas. Book an appointment with our travel consultant to learn more about your individual risk and recommended protective measures.

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