Malaria is a serious but preventable disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium. It doesn’t occur in the UK. It’s transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. There are 5 types of Plasmodium that cause the disease in humans; Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum (P. falciparum) are the most common.
P. falciparum can progress to severe and life-threatening illness including cerebral malaria if it’s not diagnosed and treated promptly. Clinicians should consider malaria as a potential diagnosis in anyone with a fever who’s been to a malaria risk area, up to a year following their return home.