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Malaria

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Fact sheet - Health conditions directory

Malaria is caused by a parasite which is spread through the bite of particular types of mosquito (Anopheles species). There are five types of malaria parasites. The type called falciparum malaria is particularly dangerous because unless treated promptly it can cause severe illness and even death. Australia was certified as being malaria free by the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1981. However, several hundred imported cases of malaria are recorded in Australia each year. Travellers to regions where malaria is present need to take precautions to avoid mosquito bites, and often 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)
  • Africa (with the East African countries posing a very high risk).

Travellers should get advice on anti-malarial drugs from their doctor before departure. Visitors to resort areas and major cities in Southeast Asia do not usually 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 drugs.

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Case report form (PDF, 229kB) - used by public health units to collect and manage more detailed information for enhanced case surveillance.

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Last updated: 3/02/2016 3:43:28 PM