Is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes caused by plasmodium parasite. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it can be fatal.
Symptoms usually appear between 7 and 18 days after becoming infected, but in some cases the symptoms may not appear for up to a year, or occasionally even longer. Flu-like symptoms develop with fever, sweats and chills, headache, vomiting, muscle pain and diarrhoea.
The Plasmodium parasite is mainly spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes, which mainly bite at dusk and at night. When an infected mosquito bites a human, it passes the parasites into the bloodstream.
Found in more than 100 countries, nearly half of the world's population is at risk of malaria. WHO reports in 2015, there were roughly 212 million malaria cases and an estimated 429 000 malaria deaths. Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from malaria-free areas are particularly vulnerable when they become infected.
About 1,586 travellers were diagnosed with the disease after returning to the UK in 2014, and three people died.
- Awareness of risk – find out whether you're at risk of getting malaria before travelling
- Bite prevention – avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent, covering your arms and legs, and using an insecticide-treated mosquito net
- Check whether you need to take malaria prevention tablets – if you do, make sure you take the right antimalarial tablets at the right dose, and finish the course
- Diagnosis – seek immediate medical advice if you develop malaria symptoms, as long as up to a year after you return from travelling