Malaria is spread by the bite of a mosquito.Typically, the time between being infected and when symptoms start (incubation period) is 7 to 18 days, depending on the specific type of mosquito. It can sometimes take up to one year for symptoms to develop. The initial symptoms are flu-like and include a high temperature (fever),headache, sweats, chills and vomiting. Other symptoms can include muscle pains, diarrhoea and generally feeling unwell. Malaria can be transmitted by blood transfusions.
All donors whether new / regular or returning should be assessed for malaria risk factors to establish the correct management to ensure a malarial antibody test is carried out ( when the risk is first identified) and subsequently on all donations thereafter. The risks are associated with
Travel to an endemic area ( travel as visitor only no other risks no malarial test required )
Resident of an endemic malarial area ( test is required)
Hx. of malaria ( test is required once 3 years fully recovered)
Unexplained fever associated with travel to a malarial endemic area ( test is required once 6 months fully recovered)
Malaria Risk Factors and Testing
You cannot donate blood or platelets for 365 days (1 year) from the date you leave a country / region that has a malarial endemic risk . This applies to a visitor only e.g. following a holiday / business trip of less than 6 months in duration. Please review Travel (by Country) for an alphabetical listing.
The IBTS commenced Malaria antibody testing on May 22nd 2023 and testing is carried out where the risk factors below apply:
- You lived at any time in any malarial endemic area for a continuous period of 6 months or more ( Resident of a malarial area)
- You ever had malaria
- You ever had an unexplained fever associated with any malarial endemic area
Samples can be taken (but not a donation) to include a malaria antibody test once the following criteria are met:
- If a minimum of 6 months have elapsed since you left any malaria area
- You are fully recovered from malaria for at least 3 years (where applicable)
- You are fully recovered from the unexplained fever for at least 6 months and it is 6 months since you left the malarial area
You will be able to attend a clinic 42 days later if the malaria test is negative ( the IBTS will contact you if the test result is positive) .Once all other criteria are met on future visits a test for malaria will be carried out in our labs every time you donate.
See the list of countries for further information on a malaria risk ( and all other travel related risk factors)
Malaria risk can be all year round or within certain specified periods of time. In some countries a previous malarial risk has been identified. Please take note of this information when reviewing your eligibility to donate. This is important to note for a person who fulfills the criteria of a resident of a malarial area.
There is no requirement to have a malaria antibody test if you are in contact with a person that has malaria as it is not contagious.
Please contact us on our Donor Infoline 1800 731 137 for advice.