Treatment of Malaria

Key points

  • Malaria is a medical emergency and can become life-threatening if not quickly diagnosed and appropriately treated.
  • Only a healthcare provider can diagnose and treat a patient for malaria.
  • Prescription drugs, available in the U.S., can cure malaria.
  • See a healthcare provider if you are sick and have recently been in an area where malaria is widespread.
Mother holding sick child, talking to healthcare worker.

Treatment overview

Starting treatment immediately is the best way to treat malaria and prevent serious and life-threatening issues. The type of drugs prescribed, and length of treatment depend on

  • The type of malaria
  • The geographic location where the infection likely happened (and likelihood of drug resistance)
  • Your age
  • If you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • How sick you are at the start of treatment

Patients in the U.S. are typically hospitalized for malaria treatment.

Treatment options

Healthcare providers can refer to the CDC's Clinical Guidance: Malaria Diagnosis & Treatment in the U.S. for specific information.