Can you die from malaria?
Yes. If left untreated, certain types of malaria in particular can cause severe complications, and can even lead to death. Plasmodium falciparum is the most dangerous form of malaria and is responsible for 90% of the approximately 700,000 annual deaths caused by malaria.
However, P. vivax infections can also be very serious, and more recently, cases of P. knowlesi in south-east Asia have been shown to develop into severe disease very rapidly, thus making it dangerous for people who are not close to health care services and thus delay getting treatment.
The people most at risk from severe malaria are children under the age of five and pregnant women, as well as travellers to malarial areas who are not taking adequate preventative measures (such as not taking anti-malaria medication or not sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide treated bednet).
However, malaria is still dangerous to all people, so if you think you might be infected, it is crucial to seek out diagnosis immediately, so that you can be quickly given appropriate treatment. If diagnosed early, malaria is usually very easily treated and full recovery occurs quickly.