WHO global health days

Test your malaria prevention knowledge

April 2017

1 How is malaria transmitted?

Malaria is transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, which are active mainly between dusk and dawn. Symptoms typically appear 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite.

2 What are the symptoms of malaria?

The symptoms of an uncomplicated malaria infection include fever, chills, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhoea. Without treatment, P. falciparum malaria can rapidly progress to severe illness and death.

3 How can malaria be prevented?

Malaria can be prevented by protecting yourself from the mosquitoes that transmit it. WHO recommends that all people at risk of malaria sleep under an insecticide-treated net at night, and those living in targeted areas should allow the walls of their homes to be sprayed with insecticides. Preventive therapies are also recommended for travellers, pregnant women, children, and infants.

4 Who is most at risk for malaria?

In areas with high malaria transmission, young children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to malaria infection and death. Outside of high-transmission areas, where populations do not acquire significant immunity to malaria, all age groups are at risk. The African region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden, with 90% of cases and 92% of deaths occurring in the region.

5 Pregnant women should not take antimalarial medicines.

To prevent malaria, WHO recommends that pregnant women in sub-Saharan Africa receive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine at each scheduled antenatal visit after the first trimester (called intermittent preventive treatment in pregnancy) and infants receive three doses of treatment alongside routine vaccinations (called intermittent preventive treatment in infancy).

6 In how many countries has resistance to insecticides been detected?

Since 2010, 60 countries have reported mosquito resistance to at least one insecticide class used in indoor spraying and treated mosquito nets. However, a WHO study has shown that long-lasting insecticide-treated nets continue to be an effective tool, even in areas where resistance has been detected.

7 If you think you have become infected with malaria, how soon should you get tested?

Prompt diagnosis and treatment with an effective and safe antimalarial is necessary to prevent life-threatening complications. WHO recommends diagnosis either by microscopy or rapid diagnostic test within 24 hours of the onset of a fever test in all patients with suspected malaria before treatment is administered.

Countdown to World Malaria Day, 25 April 2017