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Risk of Malaria According to Geographic Region

Risk of Malaria According to Geographic Region

Your risk of getting malaria depends on where you are traveling. The most accurate information about the risk of malaria in specific countries is available from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

  • The risk is highest in sub-Saharan Africa, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and the Amazon and Orinoco basins of South America.
  • The risk is medium in Haiti and the Indian subcontinent.
  • The risk is low in most of Southeast Asia and Latin America.

Malaria infections caused by certain parasites are more common in some areas of the world.

  • Plasmodium (P.) falciparum is found throughout the world in tropical and subtropical areas. It causes the most severe form of malaria.
  • P. vivax and P. malariae are found mainly in Asia, Latin America, and in some parts of Africa. These parasites cause a less severe form of malaria that rarely leads to death.
  • P. ovale is found in West Africa, the Philippines, some parts of Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. It also causes a less severe form of malaria.
  • P. knowlesi is found in Southeast Asia. It can cause a serious type of malaria that may lead to death.
By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer W. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease
Last Revised April 20, 2011

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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