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Travel & living abroad
Last updated at 12:11 (UK time) 26 Apr 2011

Malaria

Mosquito. © Stockbyte/Getty Images

Malaria is a major health problem in tropical and subtropical parts of the world. It is spread by the bites of infected mosquitoes. 

Some forms can be fatal, others produce a high fever and may lead to kidney, liver, brain and blood complications.

Make sure that you:

  • Tell your doctor which countries and regions you will be visiting. Malaria parasites are resistant to different types of malaria tablet in different countries, so you need to be sure you’re taking the right ones
  • Ask your doctor when you should start taking the medication and how long you should take it for. It is essential that you complete the course of tablets
  • Avoid mosquito bites by using insect repellent. Repellent containing DEET is particularly effective
  • Keep your arms and legs covered after sunset
  • Ensure the area where you are sleeping is properly screened and air conditioned if possible. Use a ‘knockdown’ spray to kill any mosquitoes
  • Sleep under an insecticide impregnated mosquito net

Please note that none of these measures offer total protection.

If you develop a fever or feel ill whilst abroad you should consult a doctor.

If you develop malarial symptoms up to one year after leaving a malarial region, you should seek medical attention and tell the doctor you have been to country where malaria is a risk.