Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, which are transmitted to humans through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are several species of Plasmodium that can cause malaria in humans, with Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax being the most common.
When an infected mosquito bites a person, it injects the malaria parasites into the bloodstream. The parasites then travel to the liver, where they multiply and mature. After a period of development, the parasites are released back into the bloodstream, where they invade red blood cells and continue to multiply.
Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplantation, or from an infected mother to her unborn child (congenital malaria). However, these modes of transmission are relatively rare compared to mosquito bites.
It's important to note that malaria cannot be transmitted through casual contact with an infected person, such as hugging or shaking hands. It requires the specific interaction between an infected mosquito and a human host for transmission to occur.