Malaria is a potentially deadly disease caused
by infection with the microscopic parasite Plasmodium. Plasmodium is transmitted to humans through bites from Anopheles mosquitoes infected with the parasite. According
to the World Health Organization, malaria is present in more than 100 countries—mostly
in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Each year there are roughly 300
million cases of malaria, and more than 1 million people die of the disease.
Children and pregnant women are especially at risk for malaria. The March
23/30, 2005, issue of JAMA includes an article about
malaria. This Patient Page is adapted from one originally published in the
June 2, 2004, issue.