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The malaria parasite typically is transmitted to people by mosquitoes belonging to the genus Anopheles. In rare cases, a person may contract malaria through contaminated blood. Malaria also may be transmitted from a mother to her fetus before or during delivery ("congenital" malaria). Because the malaria parasite is found in red blood cells, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared use of needles or syringes contaminated with blood.
Usually, people get malaria by being bitten by an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Only Anopheles mosquitoes can transmit malaria and they must have been infected through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person.