Malaria is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that is infected with parasites, according to WebMD. Although rare, it is possible to become infected with malaria through contact with infected blood, and a pregnant woman can transmit the disease to her unborn baby.
Malaria begins with flulike symptoms, such as chills, muscle pain and high fever, notes WebMD. Later symptoms listed by MedlinePlus include nausea, vomiting, bloody stools, jaundice, anemia and convulsions. Left untreated, the brain, lungs, heart, blood and kidneys may be affected. Symptoms typically occur within 10 days to four weeks from exposure.
WebMD notes that medications can treat malaria. Taking medication before, during and after traveling to an area in which malaria is present may prevent a person from contracting the disease.