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War Related Illness and Injury Study Center

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Veterans deployed to certain parts of the world may be at risk for malaria. Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. Malaria is endemic to parts of Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central and South America, Hispaniola, and Oceania.

Risk factors for malaria include:

  • Not taking antimalarial medication when traveling to endemic countries
  • Not regularly using insect repellants and mosquito netting
  • Not wearing protective clothing


People with malaria often experience:

  • Acute fever
  • Chills, and flu-like illness
  • Headache, muscle aches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea also may occur.


Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells.

Malaria can be cured but it is important to get treatment right away to prevent complications. The best way for you and your health care provider to know whether you have malaria is to have a diagnostic test where a drop of your blood is examined under the microscope for the presence of malaria parasites.

The most important fact to remember is that malaria can be prevented by taking the following precautions:

  • Use mosquito nets.
  • Use insecticides.
  • Take antimalarial drugs.


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