Malaria

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Version: 12. 11th May, 2010



Malaria


 Description:
 Malaria is caused by a parasite which is spread through the bite of particular types of mosquito. There are four
 types of malaria parasites. One type, called falciparum malaria, is dangerous because unless treated promptly it can
 cause severe illness and even death.

 Australia was certified as being malaria free by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 1981, however, there are
 several hundred imported cases of malaria recorded in Australia each year. Travellers to infected regions must take
 precautions to avoid mosquito bites, and usually anti-malarial drugs, to prevent malaria.

 Malaria occurs in many countries but the regions of greatest risk to Australians include: the south-west Pacific
 (Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and Vanuatu), Asia (in particular parts of Thailand, Myanmar, Sabah,
 Vietnam and India) and Africa (with the East African countries posing a very high risk).

 Visitors to resort areas (Bali, Phuket, and Pattaya) and major cities in South-east Asia (Hong Kong, Jakarta,
 Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Bangkok and Chiangmai) do not routinely require anti-malaria drugs. However
 even short term visitors to Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands (including Port Moresby and Honiara)
 should take anti-malaria medications.
 Symptoms:
 The most common symptoms of malaria are high fever, headache, backache, nausea, vomiting, and muscle and
 joint pains. In untreated people, malaria may persist for years.

 The period between the bite of an infected mosquito and the appearance of symptoms may be as short as seven
 days, but sometimes people dont become ill until eight to ten months after the bite.
 Transmission
 Malaria is not transmitted from person to person. Malaria is spread by the bite of particular types of mosquito and
 can only be spread in areas of Australia where these mosquitoes are found. Untreated people with malaria may be
 a source of mosquito infection for up to three years. Biting a person with malaria in their blood infects the mosquito.
 After a period of development inside the mosquito, malaria can be transmitted to another person when the same
 mosquito bites them. The mosquito is infected for life.
 Treatment:
 There are several effective drugs for treating malaria, though treatment has become more complicated with the
 development of resistant malaria parasites. Early malaria can usually be easily treated whereas late, severe or
 complicated malaria can be a life-threatening medical emergency. Some types of malaria may reoccur, requiring
 additional treatment.
 Prevention:
 Travellers visiting areas where malaria is common should take anti-malaria medication. There are a variety of
 anti-malaria drugs available. The choice varies according to the destination, duration of travel, and other personal
 factors. In some circumstances (eg. pregnancy and childhood) it is difficult to give advice on effective medication
 and if the risk is considered high, the best advice may be to stay home.

 All anti-malaria medication must be taken as recommended. Do not stop the medication unless absolutely
 necessary. Most medication needs to be taken for four weeks after leaving the infected area. No anti-malaria drug
 is 100% effective. Therefore, malaria can still occur in people who take their medicine regularly.



 .
 It is also important to protect yourself from being bitten by mosquitoes.

        Avoid going outdoors between dusk and dawn in rural urban areas, and urban fringe areas.



                                   (c) 2008 The State of Queensland (Queensland Health)                                                      Page 1 of 2
                                   Disclaimer: Please note that any material printed is regarded as an uncontrolled copy. It is the responsibility of the
                                   person printing the document to refer frequently to http://www.health.qld.gov.au for updates.
http://www.health.qld.gov.au
Version: 12. 11th May, 2010



Malaria


 .
 .      If outdoor after dusk, wear light coloured, long sleeved clothing and long trousers. Do not use perfumes or



 .
        aftershave lotions as these fragrances attract mosquitoes.
        Sleep in properly screened rooms and use knockdown insect spray to kill any mosquitoes present in the room.



 .
        Mosquito coils or vaporisers should be used at night.
        Use mosquito nets, check for holes and tuck the edges under the mattress before dusk. Nets can be
        impregnated with pyrethrinoid insecticide to enhance their protection.
        Use insect repellents containing up to 20% "DEET" on exposed skin, and garments, particularly at night.
        Repellents should not be used on children under six months of age and sparingly on children between six and
        24 months of age.

 If you become ill with fever within a year of travel to an infected region, it is important to inform your doctor of your
 travel and of the possibility of malaria.
 Control
 It is important that Australia remains malaria free. Mosquito eradication programs are the most effective way to
 control spread of disease.
 Help and Assistance
 For further information, please contact your local doctor, community health centre or nearest public health unit.
 Footnotes
 Heymann, D., ed. 2004. Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 18th edition. Washington, DC: American
 Public Health Association.
 Related Content
 Ross River virus fact sheet

 Barmah Forest virus fact sheet




                                    (c) 2008 The State of Queensland (Queensland Health)                                                       Page 2 of 2
                                    Disclaimer: Please note that any material printed is regarded as an uncontrolled copy. It is the responsibility of the
                                    person printing the document to refer frequently to http://www.health.qld.gov.au for updates.

				
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