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What Is Malaria?

Malaria is a potentially life-threatening disease that is caused by a parasite (something that lives off the nutrients of another living being) that infects a specific type of mosquito (Anopheles mosquito). These mosquitoes live in warm climates and pose a threat to international travelers who visit certain tropical and subtropical countries. If you are bitten by a mosquito that is infected with a parasite called "Plasmodium" (pronounced plaz-MODE-ee-um), you may be at risk for malaria.

Depending on the length of your trip, you may not begin to show signs of malaria until you return home. This is sometimes referred to as imported malaria because the traveler was bitten by an infected mosquito while visiting a malaria-endemic region.

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