Symptoms and Causes of malaria

Malaria is a serious disease which is spread by mosquitoes. If it is not diagnosed & treated promptly, could be lethal. A single bite of the Anopheles mosquito could make us infected. The severity of malaria varies based on the species of Plasmodium.

Symptoms associated with Malaria:

  • High temperature or fever
  • Headaches
  • Sweats & chills
  • Vomiting
  • diarrhea
  • Muscle pains

Symptoms generally appear between 7-18 days post being infected, however, in few cases the symptoms may not appear until 1 year or seldom even longer.

When should we seek the medical attention?

  • We should seek medical assistance immediately if we develop malaria symptoms after or during a visit to an area which is infected by malaria.
  • We should be seeking medical assistance even if we had traveled to an infected country few months or 1 year ago. We shall get the blood test done to confirm if we are really infected with malaria.
  • We shall receive the reports of a blood test on the same day. If it confirms the disease .we shall start the treatment right away.

Causes of Malaria

Plasmodium parasite causes malaria. This parasite can spread in the humans through bites of an infected mosquito.

There exist several kinds of Plasmodium parasite but only 5 types do cause malaria within humans.

They are:-

  • Plasmodium falciparum – this is mainly found in Africa and is the most popular type of malaria parasite & is a reason for most of the global deaths due to malaria.
  • Plasmodium vivax – It is mainly found in Asia & South America and causes milder symptoms than the Plasmodium falciparum, but can stay within the liver for up to 3 years and cause relapses.
  • Plasmodium ovale– It is unusual & fairly uncommon and is found in West Africa. It could stay in the liver for many years without producing any symptom.
  • Plasmodium malariae– It is quite rare & usually found only in Africa
  • Plasmodium knowlesi– It is also very rare & found in the parts of Southeast Asia.