Malaria is a dangerous form of infection brought about by the Plasmodium parasite, usually from a mosquito bite. If a mosquito infected by the parasite bites an individual, the parasites rapidly reproduce in the liver before infiltrating and breaking down the red blood cells.
What are the signs?
The signs of malaria can be categorized into uncomplicated and severe.
In this type, the symptoms are present but there are no signs indicating a serious infection or dysfunction of the vital organs. The symptoms might last 6-10 hours and recur every second day.
The signs strikingly resemble the flu. The symptoms progress as cold, hot and sweating phases:
- Feeling of cold with shivering
- Headaches, fever and vomiting
- Seizures among young children
- Sweating followed by a return to normal temperature along with tiredness
In the severe form of malaria, it involves dysfunction of the vital organs. The usual signs include the following:
- Fever and chills
- Reduced level of consciousness
- Multiple episodes of convulsions
- Prostration or shifting to a prone position
- Labored breathing
- Respiratory distress
- Irregularities with bleeding and signs of anemia
- Clinical jaundice and signs of organ dysfunction
If not properly treated, it can be fatal.
Management of malaria
The treatment for malaria is aimed on eliminating the Plasmodium parasite from the bloodstream. If an individual has symptoms, he/she is treated for infection to lower the risk for spreading the disease to others.
For the uncomplicated malaria, the artemisinin-based combination therapy is suggested.