Did You Know?
- Malaria is most commonly found in Africa and parts of South East Asia
- An average of 200 million people are infected each year
- In Africa, a child dies every minute from malaria.
- The best cure is prevention
- 3.2 billion people live in areas at risk of infection in 106 countries and territories.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.
Signs & Symptoms
- Shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
- High fever
- Profuse sweating
- Muscle pain
- Bloody stools
Your doctor will be able to diagnose malaria. During your appointment, your doctor will review your health history, including any recent travel to tropical climates. Also, a physical exam will be performed.
Your doctor will be able to determine if you have an enlarged spleen or liver. If you have symptoms of malaria, your doctor may order additional blood tests to confirm your diagnosis.
These tests will show:
- Whether or not you have malaria
- What type of malaria you have
- If your infection is caused by a parasite that is resistant to certain types of drugs
- Also, If the disease has caused anemia
- If the disease has affected your vital organs
Malaria can cause a number of life-threatening complications. The following may occur:
- Swelling of the blood vessels of the brain, or cerebral malaria
- An accumulation of fluid in the lungs that causes breathing problems, or pulmonary edema
- Organ failure of the kidneys, liver, or spleen
- Anemia due to the destruction of red blood cells
- Low blood sugar
Tips for Prevention
- Use insecticide treated nets
- Always use insecticides in rooms where mosquitoes have been.
- Avoid wearing short/ flesh-exposing clothing in mosquito infested areas.
- Take prophylactic antimalarials during pregnancy to reduce risk
Malaria is a life-threatening condition. Treatment for the disease is typically provided in a hospital. Your doctor will prescribe medications based on the type of parasite that you have. In some instances, the medication prescribed will not clear you of the infection.
Parasites that are resistant to drugs have been reported. These parasites make many drugs ineffective. If this occurs, your doctor may need to use more than one medication or change medications altogether to treat your condition.