Increase in severe malaria in Colombia and Venezuela

Recently, In both Colombia and Venezuela, there has been a major increase in the proportion of malaria cases caused by the severe falciparum strain that often leads to cerebral (brain) infection and death. In Colombia, where 60 percent of the population lives in malaria areas, the falciparum strain is now found in at least 60 percent of the infected people. The cause for this changing pattern is unknown.

In Venezuela, a similar pattern has developed as the number of malaria cases has increased dramatically due to multiple factors, including the near collapse of medical services.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Malaria.

Advice For Travellers

Travellers who might be exposed and infected with malaria in these countries should assume that their infection might be due to the falciparum strain. Even before laboratory results are available, travellers should insist on appropriate treatment for the falciparum strain.

Travellers are reminded to take all necessary precautions to avoid mosquito bites. Anti-malaria medication is recommended, if travelling in malaria areas.

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