WHO issues malaria alert for travelers to India

The World Health Organization alerted international travelers this week that the risk of malaria in India exists throughout the country the entire year at altitudes lower than 2,000 meters.

The alert warns travelers against malaria infections, particularly when traveling to West Bengal, except for Kolkata; Odisha, Maharashtra, except for Pune, Nasik, Nagpur and Mumbai; Madhya Pradesh; Karnataka, except for Bangalore; Jharkhand; Gujarat; Chhattisgarh; the Andaman and Nicobar Islands; and the northeast, the Times of India reports.

According to the WHO, between 40 and 50 percent of malaria cases in India are caused by the lethal P. falciparum parasite. There are an estimated 18,000 deaths annually as a result of the disease in the country. The advisory also warns against anti-malarial drug resistance that has been reported in India.

The WHO added that there is no danger of malaria transmission in parts of Sikkim, Jammu and Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria is a potentially fatal disease caused by a parasite that infects certain types of mosquitoes that feed on humans. Symptoms of malaria include very high fevers, flu-like illness and shaking chills. While malaria can be deadly, illness and death can typically be prevented with proper medical care.