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George Clooney contracted malaria on Sudan visit -- and recovered, media reports say

January 20, 2011|By Mary Forgione, Tribune Health
(Mohamed Messara / EPA )

George Clooney has perhaps learned an important lesson -- malaria makes traveling the globe a lot less fun than it should be.

Malaria drug: An earlier version of this article misspelled the name of the preventive drug mefloquine.

Sure, it’s noble to go on philanthropic missions around the world, helping those who can’t help themselves, but it’s probably hard to feel noble when shaking from the chills. And Clooney should know. The actor apparently has just recovered from malaria, which he contracted in Africa earlier this month, media reports said Thursday.

CNN’s Piers Morgan on Wednesday night tweeted that Clooney was fighting the illness and posts this clip of the actor talking about his condition. Clooney apparently got the disease for a second time while in southern Sudan during the pivotal election for independence. People magazine ran a statement from a spokesman Thursday saying the actor is completely over the illness.

Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal disease contracted by a mosquito bite, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. And Clooney's illness highlights the risk that travelers face. Symptoms include high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illness. So take care -- take preventive drugs such as chloroquine phosphate and mefloquine before you go. Here's more information from the CDC.

The World Health Organization reports a risk of malaria in more than 100 countries and says about 30,000 international travelers get the disease each year. It also offers these tips:

"A. Be Aware of the risk, the incubation period and the main symptoms.
B. Avoid being Bitten by mosquitoes, especially between dusk and dawn.
C. Take antimalarial drugs ... to suppress infection where appropriate. D. Immediately seek diagnosis and treatment if a fever develops one week or more after entering an area where there is a malaria risk, and up to 3 months after departure."

So back to Clooney. He is scheduled to appear on Morgan’s show Friday night -- and talk about this recent bout with malaria.

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