What are the symptoms of malaria?
The signs and symptoms of malaria are the result of the reproduction of Plasmodium parasites in the liver and their spread into the bloodstream. In the blood, the parasites destroy the red blood cells, which carry vital oxygen to the tissues of the body. Some parasites stay in the liver and continue to multiply and periodically send more parasites into the bloodstream.
In most forms of malaria, this process results in repeated bouts of symptoms as parasites are periodically released into the bloodstream. Symptoms first appear in about eight to 30 days after a bite from an infected mosquito. Repeated bouts or attacks occur every two to three days. Symptoms are similar to those of the flu and typically include:
Attacks of malaria can occur for years if the disease is not diagnosed and treated. Eventually, the body’s immune system may develop a defense against malaria attacks, and they may become less severe in some people. However, treatment is needed to cure most forms of malaria.
Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition
In some cases, malaria can progress into a life-threatening complication calledfalciparum malaria, in which a massive amount of Plasmodium parasites are released into the bloodstream at the same time.Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these symptoms:
Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
Change in mental status or sudden behavior change, such as confusion, delirium, lethargy, hallucinations and delusions
Severe difficulty breathing and respiratory distress, such as labored breathing, wheezing, or not breathing
What is malaria?
Malaria is a potentially serious disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. Plasmodia are transmitted between humans by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito that carries the parasite.... Read more about malaria introduction
What causes malaria?
Malaria is caused by a tiny, microscopic parasite that belongs to the genus Plasmodium. P. vivax and P. falciparum are the two most common species that cause malaria. Plasmodium parasites are transmitted to humans by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito that is infected with the parasite. An Anopheles mosquito can only infect a person with malaria if it has already bitten a person with malaria.... Read more about malaria causes