Risks of malaria

Find out about the risks of malaria and who is most at risk.

On this page

What are the risks of getting malaria?

All travellers are at risk in areas where malaria occurs. These areas include:

  • Asia
    • South Asia
    • Southeast Asia
    • some parts of East Asia
  • Africa
    • most of sub-Saharan Africa
    • limited areas in North Africa
  • the Caribbean
    • Haiti
    • parts of Mexico
    • parts of the Dominican Republic
  • the Middle East
    • limited areas
  • Eastern Europe
    • limited areas
  • South and Central America
  • South Pacific and Oceania region
    • some small islands, including Papua New Guinea

Canada’s Committee to Advise on Tropical Medicine and Travel has identified the countries where there is risk of getting malaria.

If you previously lived in an area where malaria occurs, once you move away you will:

  • lose any natural immunity you may have to the disease
  • be at the same risk as any other visitor if you later travel to an area where malaria occurs

Who is most at risk?

Your risk of getting malaria increases if your travel includes:

  • visiting higher at-risk regions, such as:
    • West Africa and Oceania (highest risk)
    • other parts of Africa, South Asia, and South America (moderate risk)
    • Caribbean, Central America, Mexico and other parts of South America and of Asia (lower risk)
  • longer periods away
  • rural or remote areas
  • rainy seasons (during or after)
  • outdoor exposure between sunset and sunrise
  • areas of higher death rate-causing malaria, such as plasmodium falciparum

You are most at risk of serious illness and complications if you:

  • are pregnant
  • are a young child
  • have a weakened immune system

Page details

Date modified: