Malaria transmission

mosquito biting and a micrograph of the plasmodium bacteria

Infected mosquitoes transmit malaria-causing parasites in their saliva when they bite people. Within minutes of infection, the parasites travel to the liver where they reproduce. An infected person doesn’t feel sick until the parasite leaves the liver and enters the blood stream.

Plasmodium falciparum, the most dangerous type of malaria parasite, leaves the liver within a few days. Other types of malaria lay dormant in the liver for years and cause recurring bouts of malaria for decades after the initial infection.