Malaria-related deaths among U.S. travelers, 1963-2001

Ann Intern Med. 2004 Oct 5;141(7):547-55. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-141-7-200410050-00012.


Nearly 1500 malaria cases occur each year in the United States; approximately 60% are among U.S. travelers. Despite the availability of sophisticated medical care, malaria-related deaths continue to occur. The authors reviewed all 185 fatal cases between 1963 and 2001 that were reported to the National Malaria Surveillance System: 123 (66.5%) occurred among U.S. travelers, and of these, 114 (92.7%) were attributed to Plasmodium falciparum. Failure to take or adhere to recommended chemoprophylaxis, to promptly seek medical care for post-travel illness, and to promptly diagnose and treat suspected malaria all contributed to fatal outcomes. Health care providers need to take a travel history, obtain a blood film for suspected malaria, and use the 24-hour malaria management advice available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Malaria Hotline (770-488-7788) or the CDC Malaria Web site ( Hospitals must maintain intravenous quinidine gluconate on formulary because it is the only drug available to treat severe malaria in the United States.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimalarials / therapeutic use
  • Chemoprevention
  • Humans
  • Malaria / complications
  • Malaria / mortality*
  • Malaria / prevention & control
  • Risk Factors
  • Travel*
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Antimalarials