Symptoms of Malaria

What you need to know
  • Malaria symptoms range from very mild to severe disease and even death.
  • Travelers with symptoms of malaria should see a healthcare provider as soon as possible, even if still traveling.
  • Some people are at higher risk of having serious malaria-related problems if they get sick.
  • In general, malaria is a curable disease if diagnosed and treated quickly and correctly.


Most people begin to feel ill as early as one week after infection or as late as a year or more.

Malaria symptoms can include

  • Fever and flu-like illness
  • Chills
  • Headache, muscle aches, and tiredness
  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea

Malaria symptoms may also cause

  • Anemia (loss of oxygen in the blood) and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells.
  • If not treated right away, the infection can become serious. It may cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma, and death.

See a healthcare provider if you have any these symptoms.

Incubation Period

The type of mosquito that carries the malaria parasite is an Anopheles mosquito. When an infected Anopheles mosquito bites you, there is a period of time before the first symptoms show. This time between mosquito bite and first sign of symptoms is called the “incubation period.”

The incubation period in most cases of malaria ranges from 7 to 30 days. Different species of parasites that cause malaria in humans can cause shorter or longer incubation periods.

Keep reading: Malaria incubation period