You may not recognize Cheryl Cole's name offhand, but you probably recognize her face.
Not only is Cole, 27, a UK pop star in the band Girls Aloud, but the Brit also sits beside Simon Cowell as one of the judges of X Factor, a British singing competition. She's also been a cover girl for British Vogue, Elle, and Harper's Bazaar, and she's the face of L'Oreal.
According to People.com, Cole recently collapsed during a photo shoot for her album and was treated in a London hospital for malaria.
You read that right -- malaria!
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease (transmitted via blood) more common in tropical areas. Cole had reportedly returned from a trip to Tanzania before her diagnosis. (That explains her diagnosis, but doesn't explain whether or not she took any preventative measures to avoid malaria in the first place.)
While I was thinking Cole's malaria diagnosis has to be a rare occurrence, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each year, millions of US residents travel to countries where malaria is present, resulting in about 1,500 subsequent cases of malaria diagnosed, mostly in returned travelers.
Travelers to sub-Saharan Africa have the greatest risk of getting malaria and dying from it, but all travelers to countries where malaria is present may be at risk for infection. According to the CDC, people with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die.
If you plan to travel to an area where malaria risk is high, talk to your doctor about preventative measures, including insect repellent and insecticide-treated bed nets, as well as specific medicines to prevent malaria.
As for Cole, according to Cowell, she's on the mend.
If you planned to travel to a known malaria area, what precautions would you take?
Image via pputz2001/Flickr