This serious disease, most prevalent in the tropics and subtropics, is caused by a parasite that commonly inhabits a certain type of mosquito.
When a mosquito infected with this parasite feeds on a human, that person is at risk of contracting malaria. Once the malaria parasite has been introduced into a person’s bloodstream, the parasite travels to the liver where it may remain dormant for up to a year.
Symptoms of malaria, characterized by recurrent attacks, typically present within a few weeks after exposure, but parasites may lie dormant in the body for months or even years. Symptoms include:
• Shaking and chills
• High fever
• Profuse sweating
Since the parasites that cause malaria are mostly found in tropic or sub-tropic climates, American malaria victims are often immigrants or travelers.
In recent years, some celebrity globetrotters have fallen victim to the disease. These famous faces include:
• George Clooney (actor)
• Anderson Cooper (journalist, newscaster)
• Jeremy Piven (actor)
If you plan to travel to a region where malaria is common, see your healthcare provider. Malaria-prevention medication is available. The same medication is used to treat those who have already contracted the disease.
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