Who Does Malaria Affect?

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It is estimated that around half of the world’s population are at risk of catching malaria. This disease used to be prominent all over the world but in some countries it has been successfully eradicated. Therefore, some people are more at risk of catching malaria than others.

If you are a traveller and do not live in an endemic area but plan to visit one, you are at risk of being infected by malaria. As you have not been exposed to the disease, your body does not have any immunity towards malaria and therefore if you are bitten, you are at risk of infection. It is estimated that 25-30 million people travel to tropical places where malaria is a threat and around 10,000-30,000 of these travellers become infected with the disease. There are measures that you can take to help prevent the chance of this occurring if you want to visit endemic areas.

Children who live in endemic areas who are under the age of three are more likely to contract malaria. Their immune system has not fully developed immunity to the disease and they are more susceptible to the more severe forms of malaria. Most of the deaths that were caused by Malaria in Africa were young children and it is the fourth leading cause of death amongst children.

You are also at risk if you are pregnant. You are actually ten times more likely to have malaria than someone who is not pregnant. If you are not immune, you can catch malaria and it can lead to miscarriages and it can also be fatal for yourself. Even if you are semi-immune, if you live in an area where malaria is highly transmitted, you are more likely to become infected with malaria. Also, if you are pregnant and have HIV or AIDS you are more likely to get malaria. This is also the same for anyone who does have HIV/AIDS and is not pregnant.

If you live in an endemic area, over time your body builds up immunity so there is less chance that you will become infected with the disease. However, if you leave this area for a long period of time and then return, you are now at risk of having malaria. Your immunity may have ceased as you have not been exposed to the disease and you are more at risk of having a severe form of malaria.

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