Malaria is caused by a parasite transmitted from one human to another via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The parasites migrate to the liver, mature and enter the bloodstream, where they rupture red blood cells. An infected pregnant woman can transmit malaria to her unborn child.
Review Date 5/10/2019
Updated by: Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.