Malaria

Malaria is an important tropical disease which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito.

Overview

Malaria is an important tropical disease which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The risk areas include Africa, South-East Asia and the Americas. Flu-like symptoms, a feeling of being severely unwell and episodic high fever are typical. Good mosquito protection (mosquito net, insect repellent, etc.) and medical advice for travellers are recommended.

Symptoms

Causes and treatment

Causes

  • Pathogen: Plasmodium (parasite)
  • Transmission: through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito
  • Risk areas: Africa (90% of all infections), Asia, Central and South America

Risk factors

  • Staying in a risk area
    • Sleeping without a mosquito net
    • Being outside at night without mosquito protection
    • Long time, rainy season
  • Risk groups
    • Immunocompromised persons
    • Pregnant women
    • Children < 5 years
    • Backpacker tourists
    • Airport employees

Further treatment by your doctor / in hospital

Possible tests
  • Quick test
  • Blood test (laboratory, microscopic examination)
Possible therapies
  • Anti-malaria medication
  • Complicated disease course: treatment in intensive care unit
  • No vaccine is available
  • Self-treatment with emergency medication, if necessary

What can I do myself?

  • Before travelling to tropical/sub-tropical countries
    • Medical advice for travellers (at least 6 weeks before departure)
    • Emergency medication (self-treatment if malaria is suspected)
    • Find out about vaccinations
  • Malaria prophylaxis (medication), if necessary
    • Recommended before travelling to a high-risk area
    • Weakens the disease progression
    • Doesn’t prevent an infection, total protection is impossible
  • Protection against mosquito bites
    • Cover the skin: light-coloured clothing suitable for the tropics (long trousers, long sleeves, hat)
    • Mosquito net, mosquito screen
    • Mosquito repellent
    • Don't go outside at dusk
  • Don’t travel to risk areas

When to see a doctor?

Further information

Federal Office of Public Health, FOPH (Bundesamt für Gesundheit, BAG)
https://www.bag.admin.ch/bag/en/home.html

Ostschweizer Infostelle für Reisemedizin (Eastern Switzerland Information Centre for Travel Medicine)
www.osir.ch

Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute (Schweizerisches Tropen- und Public Health-Institut)
www.swisstph.ch

FDFA (travel links)
www.eda.admin.ch/eda/en/

Synonyms

malaria, malarial fever, swamp fever

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Exclusion of liability

CSS offers no guarantee for the accuracy and completeness of the information. The information published is no substitute for professional advice from a doctor or pharmacist.

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