Malaria Diagnosis & Treatment in the United States
Health-care providers should always obtain a travel history from febrile patients. Fever in a person who has recently traveled in a malaria-endemic area should always be immediately evaluated using the appropriate diagnostic tests for malaria.
Rapid and accurate diagnosis of malaria is integral to the appropriate treatment of affected individuals and in preventing the further spread of infection in the community. As a national reference center for malaria diagnosis, CDC provides diagnostic and technical assistance on malaria diagnosis. CDC provides reference microscopic diagnosis and other specialized tests such as serology, PCR, and drug-resistance testing. Additionally, telediagnosis and training are provided for malaria and other parasitic diseases through the DPDx website.
Treatment of malaria depends on many factors including disease severity, the species of malaria parasite causing the infection and the part of the world in which the infection was acquired. The latter 2 characteristics help determine the probability that the organism is resistant to certain antimalarial drugs. Additional factors such as age, weight, and pregnancy status may limit the available options for malaria treatment.
CDC provides, on a 24-hour basis, consultations for clinicians needing guidance on diagnosis, management of malaria cases, access to antimalarial medication, or urgent issues related to adverse antimalarial drug reactions.
Assistance can be provided through the CDC Malaria Hotline (770-488-7788) from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm Eastern Time. After hours or on weekends and holidays, call the CDC Emergency Operation Center at 770-488-7100 and ask to page the person on call for the Malaria Branch. Do not use email to ask for clinical advice; email is not constantly monitored and there may be delays in answering.