What is malaria?
Malaria can be transmitted by the bite of a female mosquito. This mosquito is active between sunset and sunrise. Malaria is caused by a bite of a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite is not directly transmittable between humans. This parasite nestles in the human liver. There are several types of Plasmodium parasites that can cause malaria, the most common ones being Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale and Plasmodium malariae.
On average, the first symptoms of malaria usually occur 10 days after the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites (hypnozoites) of Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale remain dormant in the liver. It can take months or years for the parasites to become active and symptoms to manifest.
- Severe infectious disease, caused by the bite of an infected mosquito.
- The most dangerous form of malaria tropica can result in death within several weeks without treatment.
- Found in (sub) tropical locations. Native mosquitoes are now also found in Europe due to tourism, transport and world trade.
- In a few areas, the parasite has become immune to malaria remedies/medicines.
- Found in 109 countries.
- No vaccine is available.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
When contracting malaria tropica (the most dangerous type), this can be deadly within 48 hours. In the case of other malaria types, the symptoms start between 10 days and 6 weeks after the bite.
There are four variants of malaria that you can contract. As said before, malaria tropica can be fatal within 48 hours. The other three variants have a less serious disease progression. The malaria symptoms usually consist of attacks lasting four to eight hours, which recur every few days.
- High fever
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle and joint pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Convulsions (in children)
- Coma in severe cases
The graphic representation on this map is based on data from 2017.
Protection against malaria
Prevention of malaria is directed at travellers to and from malaria-risk areas in (sub)tropical regions, The risk to contract malaria is reduced by taking malaria pills. In addition, wearing skin-covering clothing and the use of mosquito nets and Anti-Insect during the period when mosquitoes are active, are good measures to reduce the risk of infection.
There is no vaccine for malaria yet. Bear in mind that the mosquito only bites between sunset and sunrise, so protection against mosquitoes is especially important during this period.