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Articles » Facts About Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria: CDC-OC
 

Facts About Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria: CDC-OC

Article title: Facts About Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria: CDC-OC

Conditions: Malaria

Source: CDC-OC


Transfusion-Transmitted Malaria

April 2, 1999
CDC, Division of Media Relations
(404) 639-3286

Malaria is caused by one of four protozoan species of the genus Plasmodium: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. malariae and is transmitted by the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Occasionally transmission occurs by blood transfusion or congenitally from mother to fetus.

Malaria is transmitted in large areas of Central and South America, Hispaniola, sub-Saharan Africa, the Indian subcontinent, the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and Oceania. Worldwide it is estimated that 300-500 million clinical cases and 1.5-2.7 million deaths occur due to malaria annually.

Although the disease was eradicated in the United States in the 1940s, about 1,000-1,400 cases of malaria are reported to CDC each year; almost all acquired during international travel. Over 75% of these cases are associated with failure to use recommended chemoprophylaxis.

Each year in the United States, several cases (< 10) of malaria are acquired stateside, by congenital transmission, local mosquito-borne transmission, or by blood transfusion or organ transplantation. On average, 2-3 cases of transmission occur by blood transfusion annually.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, muscle aches, and malaise. Early stages of malaria may resemble the onset of the flu. Travelers who become ill with a fever during or after travel in a malarious area should seek prompt medical attention and should inform their physician of their recent travel history.

Malaria can often be prevented by the use of antimalarial drugs and the use of personal protection measures against mosquito bites. Anopheles mosquitoes bite during nighttime hours, from dusk to dawn. The risk of malaria depends on the traveler's itinerary, the duration of travel, and the place where the traveler will spend evenings and nights.

Travelers can still get malaria, despite use of prevention measures. Malaria symptoms can develop as soon as 6-8 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito, or as late as several months after departure from a malarious area (after antimalarial drugs are discontinued). Malaria can be treated effectively in its early stages, but delaying treatment can have serious consequences. Malaria can cause anemia and jaundice, and can lead to coma, renal failure, acute respiratory distress, and death.

For more information on malaria, visit http://www.cdc.gov/travel/malinfo.htm


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