Medical Specialties: Family practice, Infectious disease, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Malaria is a disease caused by parasitic protozoa, which are transmitted into the bloodstream by certain types of mosquitos. Once this type of parasite moves to the liver, it multiplies and infects red blood cells. The disease can be fatal if untreated, especially in children. 

In Our Own Words

Malaria is a parasitic disease transmitted to people by certain types of contaminated mosquitos. First, a mosquito picks up the parasite by feeding on an infected person. When the mosquito dives into its next meal on another person, it then transmits the parasite into that person’s bloodstream.


If diagnosed early, malaria can be treated with proper medication. However, symptoms may not appear until weeks after initial infection.


Patients experiencing malaria-like symptoms and who have recently travelled to regions where the disease commonly occurs should see a doctor immediately. Nearly 90 percent of deaths from malaria occur in children under age five in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Side Effects
  • Chills
  • High fever
  • Vomiting
  • Muscle aches
  • Shaking
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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “About Malaria.” Updated September 2012. Accessed July 2013.
  • Cleveland Clinic. “Malaria.” Updated April 2012. Accessed July 2013.
  • World Health Organization. “Malaria.” Accessed July 2013.
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