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What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a protozoa. Four kinds of malaria parasites can infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae, P.ovalae
Is malaria a common disease? And is there any malaria in Thailand?

Yes, WHO estimates that each year 300-500 million cases of malaria occur and more than 1 million die. Most case occur in Africa. In Thailand, the endemic area is in the hilly or forested area only. Most cases are from the border of Thailand especially Thai-Myanmar, Thai-Cambodia border.

There is no risk in major city or major tourist resort. Such as Bangkok, Chiangmai, Pattaya, Phuket and Samui.

How is malaria transmitted?

Usually, people get malaria by being bitten by an infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. Only that specific species of mosquito can transmit malaria. When the infected mosquito bite, it will release the infected stage of parasite, called sporozoite, to the human blood stream. It will take some time which called incubation period, to let the parasites grow and multiply themselves. After that the people will have the signs and symtoms of malaria.

Because the malaria is found in human blood, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or the shared use of needles or syringes contaminated with blood.

Malaria is not transmitted from person to person like a cold or flu. You cannot get malaria from casual contact with malaria-infected people.

What are the signs and symptoms of malaria?
Symptoms of malaria include fever, inculding with chills, headache, muscle pain, loss of appetite. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause pallor and jaundice (yellow coloring of the eyes and skin). Infection with P. falciparum,if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, seizure, coma and leading to death.
How soon will a person feel sick after being bitten by an infected mosquito?
For most people, symptoms begin 7 days to 8 weeks after infection. Two kinds of malaria ie P.vivax and P.ovalae can remain dormant in the liver for several month up to 4 years.
How do I know if I have malaria?
If you become ill with a fever with chill, headache,malaise, nausea and vomiting during travel in malaria risk area, you should seek for medical care. You should tell your health care provider that you have been travedling in the malaria risk area. The surest diagnostic test is to have your blood examination under microscope. If malaria parasite was found on your blood film, that mean you have malaria.
What is the treatment of malaria?
Malaria is a treatable disease especially when it is early treated. The type of drugs and length of treatment depend on which kind of malaria is diagnosed, how severe is the patient and the age of the patient.

The important point is that you should be treated by qualified medical doctor only. Over-the-counter drug is risky especially in the border area, since most of them are faked drug.
What is the best medthod to prevent malaria?

f you are traveling into the malaria risk area, the best prevention method is to protect yourself against mosquito bite. It is the best method.

Here are some useful tips:

- Always sleep under a bed net.

- Use insect repellents. Apply the repellent on exposed part of the body for every 3-4 hours especially after the sunset.

- Repellent are available at any local drug store. Ask for "Yah Tah Gahn Yoong"  

What is the recommended antimalarial prophylaxis in Thailand? 
Malaria chemoprophylaxis is not recommended in Thailand. Malaria, in Thailand, is the multidrug resistance strain. So no drugs can protect you against malaria. More over you may have unpleasant side effect from the drug. Antimalarial prophylaxis can be used in specific situation only. Counseling with qualified medical doctor is recommended in this issue.

Last updated: June 9, 2011