Rebel Wilson Had Malaria After Waking Up with '100 Mosquito Bites on My Face'

The actress and author shared that she “could have died” after contracting the deadly disease as a teen

<p>JC Olivera/Variety via Getty Images</p> Rebel Wilson in May 2024.

JC Olivera/Variety via Getty Images

Rebel Wilson in May 2024.

Rebel Wilson has a serious phobia of insects — and with good reason.

“I have always had bugs-xiety … [since] growing up in Australia, where we have a lot of bugs,” Wilson, 44, told Us Weekly in a recent interview.

“But also, one of the biggest turning points, when I was 18, I got malaria. I woke up one morning in an African bush and I had like 100 mosquito bites on my face.”

“I was in hospital for two weeks,” the author of the memoir Rebel Rising says. “I could have died from it, it was very, very bad.”

<p>Dave Benett/Getty </p> Rebel Wilson in 2023

Dave Benett/Getty

Rebel Wilson in 2023

Malaria is caused by a parasite that infects certain mosquitos, the CDC explains, and, indeed, “can be a deadly disease if not diagnosed and treated quickly.”

Those with malaria may first experience flu-like symptoms — like fever, chills and headache — but if the infection isn’t treated quickly, it can “become severe,” the CDC says, leading to kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion and coma.

Related: Rebel Wilson Reveals the 'Emotional War' She Felt Being 'a Proud Fat Female' Who Was 'Ashamed of My Eating Behaviors' (Exclusive)

Mosquitos aren’t the only insects the Pitch Perfect star dislikes. The actress tells Us Weekly, “I also remember being in my mom’s house, and they’d always have little flying gnats around the fruit bowl and I always hated it.”

“I don’t want any little bugs crawling around at home, especially after having a baby,” she said, referring to daughter Royce Lillian, 19 months, whom she shares with fiancée Ramona Agruma.

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As she tells the outlet, it was her desire to have a child that caused her to kickstart her weight-loss journey, during which she’s told PEOPLE she lost 80 lbs.

<p>Rebel Wilson/ Instagram</p> Rebel Wilson poses with her daughter, Royce.

Rebel Wilson/ Instagram

Rebel Wilson poses with her daughter, Royce.

“I had this consultation with a fertility doctor. He was like, ‘Well, you’d have a much better chance of having a child if you were healthy,’ “ she told Us Weekly.

“It kind of really hit a nerve, that [it] could prevent me from having a child," she told the outlet. "I did have to go through this whole health journey in order to get my daughter, Royce.”

Related: Rebel Wilson Quips that She 'Wishes' the News About Losing Her Virginity at 35 Was an April Fool's Joke: 'It's Not'

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And now, Wilson says, “I am just so proud of my life and all the things that I’ve gone through…I’m just at a point now where I can be really open."

"It’s kind of cathartic in a way to just put it all out there." she added. "And then now, I move on with the next chapters.”

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