While there is no malaria vaccine to prevent this serious illness, we provide preventive measures including barrier protection with insect repellants and permethin, as well as malaria medication. The New York Center for Travel and Tropical Medicine features the Binax Now Rapid Malaria test. This test allows us to tell you, with one drop of blood within 15 minutes, whether or not you have malaria. The travel health specialists at our International Travel Health Clinic are trained to prevent the contraction of malaria, recognize the symptoms of malaria, and provide malaria treatment.

Malaria Q & A

What is Malaria?

Malaria is a serious vector-borne illness, which means it’s a disease transmitted by insects – in this case, mosquitoes infected with tiny, microscopic parasites. Although the disease is uncommon in cooler climates, it’s still very common in subtropical and tropical locales, killing about a million people each year. Currently, there is no vaccine for malaria. Anti-malaria health campaigns are focused on prevention, including the use of mosquito nets to surround beds and prevent mosquitoes from biting during sleep.

What symptoms does malaria cause?

Malaria symptoms typically include:

  • High fever
  • Shaking chills
  • Extreme perspiration when the fever breaks
  • Headache
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting

Initial symptoms usually begin to appear within a few weeks after being bitten by a mosquito infected with malaria. Not everyone has all the symptoms at one time, and symptoms may disappear and then recur long after the diseases was contracted, sometimes for months or even years.

How is malaria treated?

Malaria is treated with specific types of medication, sometimes for prolonged periods of time. The type of medication is determined by the specific type of parasite that’s causing the infection, whether or not you’re pregnant, the intensity of your symptoms, age, along with other factors. The most common anti-malaria medication types include:

  • Chloroquine
  • Quinine sulfate
  • Hydroxychloroquine
  • Mefloquine
  • Atovaquone and proguanil in combination

Some malaria parasites have developed resistance to medications, and as a result, successfully treating malaria can be tricky, especially if the disease is allowed to progress without treatment. If you’ve traveled to an area where malaria is present and you develop symptoms, you should schedule an evaluation right away so you can be checked for the presence of malaria parasites and treated as soon as possible.