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Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that can infect people's
red blood cells. The parasite is spread to people by the bites of infected
Most malaria infections cause flu-like symptoms (such as high
fever, chills, muscle pain, and diarrhea) that come and go in cycles. A severe
form of malaria can cause serious heart, lung, kidney, and brain problems, or
Many malaria cases occur in people who have traveled to developing
countries (especially Africa). A person can reduce the risk of malaria by
taking steps to prevent mosquito bites and by taking preventive medicine that
reduces the risk of infection in case the person is bitten by an infected
mosquito. Medicines are also used to treat malaria.
Malaria can persist for years. A person may have repeated cycles of
Current as of:
May 24, 2016
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
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