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CMAJ. 2004 May 25;170(11):1693-702.


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Division of Infectious Diseases, Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, 401 Smyth Road, Ottawa, Ontario K1H 8L1, Canada.


Malaria is a parasitic infection of global importance. Although relatively uncommon in developed countries, where the disease occurs mainly in travellers who have returned from endemic regions, it remains one of the most prevalent infections of humans worldwide. In endemic regions, malaria is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality and creates enormous social and economic burdens. Current efforts to control malaria focus on reducing attributable morbidity and mortality. Targeted chemoprophylaxis and use of insecticide-treated bed nets have been successful in some endemic areas. For travellers to malaria-endemic regions, personal protective measures and appropriate chemoprophylaxis can significantly reduce the risk of infection. Prompt evaluation of the febrile traveller, a high degree of suspicion of malaria, rapid and accurate diagnosis, and appropriate antimalarial therapy are essential in order to optimize clinical outcomes of infected patients. Additional approaches to malaria control, including genetic manipulation of mosquitoes and malaria vaccines, are areas of ongoing research.

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