Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death. Symptoms can appear in 7 days. Sometimes, the time between exposure and signs of illness may be as long as 8 to 10 months with P. vivax and P. ovale.
Common symptoms of malaria:
In the early stages, malaria symptoms are sometimes similar to those of many other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Symptoms may include Fever, Chills, Headache, Sweats, Fatigue, Nauseaand vomiting. Other common symptoms of malaria may include Dry cough, Muscle and/orback pain, Enlargedspleen. In rare cases, malaria can lead to impaired function of thebrainor spinal cord, seizures, or loss of consciousness. Infection with theP. falciparumparasite is usually more serious and may become life-threatening.
Symptoms may appear in cycles and may come and go at different intensities and for different lengths of time. But, especially at the beginning of the illness, the symptoms may not follow this typical pattern. The cyclic pattern of malaria symptoms is due to the life cycle of malaria parasites as they develop, reproduce, and are released from the red blood cells and liver cells in the human body. This cycle of symptoms is also one of the major indicators that you are infected with malaria. (13) Diagnosis: Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests. Other useful tests that may be done include Liver function tests, to check for liver damage. Complete blood count (CBC) to check for anemia or evidence of other possible infections. Anemia sometimes develops in people with malaria, because the parasites damage red blood cells. (13) Prevention:
Prevention of malaria involves protecting yourself against mosquito bites and taking antimalarial medicines. Disease transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of mosquito nets and insect repellents, or with mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water. (16) Management:
Despite a need, no effective vaccine currently exists, although efforts to develop one are ongoing. Several medications are available to prevent malaria in travellers to malaria-endemic countries (prophylaxis). A variety of antimalarial medications are available. Severe malaria is treated with intravenous or intramuscular quinine. Resistance has developed to several antimalarial drugs; for example, chloroquine-resistant P. falciparum has spread to most malarial areas, and emerging resistance to artemisinin has become a problem in some parts of Southeast Asia. (16)