Malaria symptoms

Related articles: Malaria


Malaria is an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Plasmodium (in particular: P. falciparum, P. vivax, P. malariae and P. ovale ). These pathogens are transmitted to humans (the only reservoir of the disease) through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito (vector). Malaria transmission can also occur following transfusion of blood containing plasmodia in the infecting phase.

Malaria is present in Africa, in the Indian sub-continent, in south-east Asia, in Latin America and in parts of Central America. In some of these geographical areas, the disease is endemic.

The incubation period is about 8-14 days for infection with P. vivax and P. ovale, 7-14 days for P. falciparum and 7-30 days for P. malariae . However, some strains of P. vivax and P. ovale may not cause disease for 8-10 months or more from infection.

Most common symptoms and signs *

  • Anemia
  • Asthenia
  • Increase in the ESR
  • Chills
  • Cachexia
  • Coma
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain
  • Muscle pains
  • Hepatomegaly
  • Temperature
  • hypersplenism
  • Hypoglycemia
  • Hypotension
  • Hypovolemia
  • Jaundice
  • Lethargy
  • Leukopenia
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • marasma
  • Meningitis
  • Nausea
  • thrombocytopenia
  • Polyuria
  • Proteinuria
  • Nephritic syndrome
  • Nephrotic syndrome
  • splenomegaly
  • Sweating
  • Cough
  • lockjaw
  • He retched

Further indications

Malaria can present with variable clinical manifestations. Symptoms common to all forms of the disease include fever (which can be periodic) accompanied by other symptoms such as chills, headache, back pain, profuse sweating, muscle pain, nausea, vomiting, cough, anemia, splenomegaly and extreme fatigue. Diarrhea, jaundice and severe thrombocytopenia may also occur.

Infections with Plasmodium falciparum can cause a more serious disease due to microvascular effects, with possible multi-organ complications (including kidney failure and pulmonary edema), coma and progress to death.

P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae, typically, do not compromise the vital organs, therefore mortality is rare.

The diagnosis of malaria should be considered for all subjects who have recurrent attacks of fever and chills, especially if they have stayed in an endemic region. The diagnosis is confirmed by the identification of microscopic parasites on the peripheral blood smear.

Antimalarial therapy and prophylaxis depend on the infecting species and drug sensitivity; may include the use of chloroquine, quinine, combination of atovaquone and proguanil, mefloquine and doxycycline.