Charlie Webster and malaria: medical facts behind the headlines

What is malaria?

Malaria is a very serious infection which you can catch from a bite from an infected mosquito.

Why is malaria in the news?

According to news reports, TV presenter Charlie Webster has fallen seriously ill in Rio de Janeiro with a rare form of malaria. She is apparently in a serious condition and is undergoing hospital treatment.

What are the symptoms of malaria?

There are two general types of malaria: benign and malignant. Benign malaria is milder and relatively easy to treat. Malignant malaria can be very severe and sometimes be fatal.

The most common symptom of benign malaria is a very high temperature (fever). In malignant malaria, fever is also a common symptom. However in malignant malaria, further complications such as breathing problems, liver failure and shock can occur.

How can malaria be prevented?

The 'ABCD' of malaria prevention is:

Awareness of risk of malaria

Bite prevention

Chemoprophylaxis (taking anti-malarial medication regularly and exactly as prescribed)

Prompt Diagnosis and treatment.

For more information about malaria see our malaria information.