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Malaria Treatment for Cheryl Cole: X Factor Judge Got Bit

Cheryl Cole of "The X Factor" (AP) AP

(CBS) Cheryl Cole - a popular judge on Simon Cowell's "The X Factor" - is infected with malaria after being bitten by a mosquito while on vacation in Tanzania.

She is being hospitalized in London after collapsing at a photo shoot over the July 4th weekend, according to the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph.

The 27-year-old singer and T.V. personality traveled to the east African country - which is most famous for the breathtaking spice islands of Zanzibar - three weeks ago, according to the paper.

But Tanzania is also notorious for its mosquitoes. Malaria was the leading cause of death of Zanzibar's children last year, according to the World Health Organization.

Malaria is caused by a parasite that attaches itself to mosquitoes. When a person is bitten by an infected pest, the parasite causes a blood infection. Worst case scenario: the parasite reproduces in the liver cells, which then burst open allowing thousands of new parasites to infect more red blood cells. The cycle then repeats, according to WebMD. Patients can become exhausted, suffer horrible fevers and die.

Cole had been feeling "tired and listless" the week before the collapse, and on Sunday afternoon, her symptoms came to a head. She started sweating and shaking, according to the Daily Mail.

A Tanzanian vacation may seem a bit off the beaten track, but, according to the Guardian, a leading British newspaper, it's not terribly unusual for UK citizens to travel to countries where malaria is prevalent.

The newspaper reports that the UK has the odd distinction of being one of the biggest importers of malaria in the industrialized world. Near 2,000 British tourists return from vacation with malaria, and the most dangerous form, plasmodium falciparum, is on the rise there.

Cole is expected to remain in the hospital for a few days, and according to her publicist, she'll be out of commission for a solid week.

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