Malaria expert views FAQ NHS Choices

Malaria expert views FAQ NHS Choices

Expert views FAQ from NHS Choices NHS Choices

Malaria is a serious, life-threatening disease that kills around a million people each year. More than 2,000 British holidaymakers return from their travels with the disease and nine of these people die each year. Malaria is found in parts of Africa, South and Central America, Asia, Australasia and the Pacific.

We asked, Dr Jane Zuckerman, medical director of the Royal Free Travel Health Centre, what she would want to know about malaria.

I don’t remember being bitten by a mosquito, but I still got malaria. Why?
You don’t always notice when you’ve been bitten and it only takes one bite to catch malaria. Even if you take all the right precautions, it’s still possible to get malaria. But you can reduce your risk substantially by taking bite prevention measures and taking antimalarial tablets.

What will happen if I don’t finish my course of antimalarial tablets while I am away?
Antimalarial tablets work by killing the parasites that enter your bloodstream. If you stop taking them and are bitten by a mosquito that’s carrying malaria, you no longer have that protection.

Will the malaria return?
It depends on what strain of malaria you have and whether you have proper treatment. Some strains can re-occur years after infection if the parasite isn’t killed by medication and is still in your body. But if you have proper treatment you should be fine.

Can I give malaria to someone else?
No. You can only catch it through a mosquito bite. Your family won’t be at risk.

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