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Malaria in Brazil

Warning - Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel
Alert - Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions
Watch - Level 1, Practice Usual Precautions

What is the current situation?

Public health officials in Brazil have reported an outbreak of locally transmitted malaria in the town of Wenceslau Guimarães in Bahia State. Local transmission means that mosquitoes in the area may be infected with malaria and spreading it to people. Although mosquitoes that spread malaria are present in Bahia State, malaria is not usually found there; this outbreak is believed to have started with an infected person who traveled from Pará State, where malaria is known to spread.

Malaria is a disease spread through mosquito bites. Symptoms usually appear within 7 to 30 days but can take up to a year to develop. Symptoms include high fever, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. Without treatment, malaria can cause severe illness and even death.

The Brazilian Ministry of Health and the public health authorities in Bahia State are monitoring and responding to this outbreak by controlling mosquito populations and educating healthcare providers and the public about malaria.

What can travelers do to prevent malaria?

At this time, CDC recommends that travelers to Wenceslau Guimarães take medicine to prevent malaria. Travelers to the area should talk with their doctor or nurse about medicine to prevent malaria before they leave the United States. Note: There are other areas in Brazil where CDC recommends travelers take medicine to prevent malaria. See malaria in Brazil for more information.

Because malaria is spread by mosquito bites, all travelers to Brazil should also prevent mosquito bites by using insect repellent and wearing protective clothing when outdoors, and sleeping in an air-conditioned or well-screened room or under an insecticide-treated bed net. Learn more about malaria, how to prevent it, and what to do if you think you are infected at CDC’s malaria page for travelers.

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