Malaria is a serious illness caused by a parasite which infects red blood cells. The risk of malaria differs from region to region and from traveller to traveller within a single country. The season of travel, geographical location, accommodation and activities can affect the risk. Other factors are human immunity to malaria, taking malaria tablets and measures to avoid bites.


Fever is usually the most important symptom at first, possibly with headache, muscle pains, diarrhoea, and cough. Severe untreated malaria can lead to seizures, coma and death. Symptoms can develop as early as 7 days and as late as several months after infection.

How do you catch malaria?

Malaria is transmitted by an infected mosquito, which mainly bites between dusk and dawn.

Incubation period

Usually 10 – 15 days.


Diagnosis is made by microscopic examination of blood.


Travellers should be aware of malaria risk areas and take care to avoid mosquito bites. Malaria tablets, if advised, should be taken as instructed by your travel nurse.


Suspected or confirmed malaria is a medical emergency requiring urgent attention. Treatment is effective if commenced early.