All it takes you to get infected by malaria is a single mosquito bite.
Malaria is one of the serious tropical diseases spread by mosquitoes. If left undiagnosed or untreated, malaria can be fatal. So it is important to know about the signs and symptoms of malaria, and more importantly, the complications that could arise if the disease is left untreated.
The symptoms of malaria include a fever with chills, feeling shivery, headaches, vomiting, diarrhea, and muscle pains. If you suspect a mosquito bite and develop any of these symptoms, seek medical attention immediately.
A simple blood test will confirm whether you are infected with malaria. And if the test is positive, your doctor will start the treatment right away, which may include drugs like hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine.
What are the potential complications of malaria?
Of all the malarial parasites, Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest and it could lead to complications if left untreated. One of the serious complications is cerebral malaria, which could lead result in seizures, or even coma.
Cerebral malaria is lethal and may even cause death in patients with untreated malaria. It has been found that at least 20% of adults and 15% of children who develop this complication die.
Other possible complications of malarial infection include:
As far as mortality is concerned, malaria is responsible for killing around 1 to 3 million people every year, globally. The majority of the malarial deaths are seen in children aged 5 or below, with more than 80% of the deaths occurring in rural Africa.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of death in children who are younger than 5 years. Millions die of malaria due to the lack of awareness, prevention, and treatment in low-income countries, where malaria is still endemic.
Malaria can be prevented and treated. Drugs like hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil) and chloroquine (Aralen) have been effectively used for the treatment and prevention of malaria.
Your doctor may recommend taking either hydroxychloroquine to chloroquine as prophylaxis if you are supposed to travel in areas where malaria is endemic. This is usually to prevent you from getting infected with malaria while visiting areas with inadequate access to health care.