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Malaria Vaccine for Travel: Protect Yourself and Your Family Against Malaria When Traveling Abroad

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal blood infection that is very common in tropical and semitropical parts of the world, including south Asia, parts of the Caribbean, Central America and equatorial South America. Transmission in the United States is exceptionally rare – almost all cases are found in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria is prevalent.

How is Malaria Spread?

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is commonly carried by a certain type of mosquito. The parasite enters the human bloodstream following a mosquito bite. Therefore, it is vital that, in addition to taking a pre-travel regimen of medications, travelers take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito-borne illnesses.

Although mosquitoes are the most common mode of transmission, malaria can also be transmitted in many of the same ways as other blood-borne illnesses, including organ transplants, blood transfusions, and shared needles and syringes.

Symptoms of Malaria

Symptoms may present weeks or even months after being infected and may include:

  • High fever (greater than 102°F)
  • Flu-like symptoms including chills, headache and muscle aches

A Medical Regimen Can Protect You and Your Family from Malaria

Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness, and death from malaria can usually be prevented with a regimen of pre-travel (4-6 weeks before departure) medications in the form of pills. Because malaria symptoms may not appear for some time, your doctor may advise you to continue taking malaria vaccine medications for up to four weeks post-travel.

A travel malaria medication regimen is recommended for those traveling to India and most African nations, including but not limited to:

Please speak to the travel medicine specialists at the UH Roe Green Center for Travel Medicine & Global Health for more information about recommended vaccines and disease prevention.