Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Malaria

Types, Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment of Malaria

Malaria is a critical disease, which can be life-threatening. It is common in tropical regions; malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium spp. It kills more than 445,000 people a year and several children in Africa. In the USA, the frequency of malaria cases is low; however, Americans can get the disease if they travel to other parts of the world. Therefore, due to immigrants or travellers around 1,600 cases get registered every year. However, malaria is life-threatening; however, it is treatable.

There is a total of five types of Plasmodium species that can infect humans. Besides, few strains of plasmodium are resistant to medicines that treat malaria. This disease is vector-borne, which means it transmits through the biting of infected female Anopheles mosquito.

Types of Malaria

There is a total of five species of malaria. Two strains are dangerous:

  1. Plasmodium falciparum: This strain is largely observed in Africa. It is responsible for most malaria deaths. P. falciparum multiplies very rapidly, causing severe blood loss and blocked blood vessels.
  2. Plasmodium vivax: This strain of parasite is found in sub-Saharan Africa, especially in Asia and Latin America. This malaria strain stays dormant in the body, then rises to infect your blood after a very long time.

Symptoms of malaria


Symptoms for malaria start from 10-15 days after the infected mosquito bites a person. The initial symptoms are fever, shaking chills, and sweating. Other symptoms are:

  1. Feeling like throwing up
  2. Headache
  3. Fatigue
  4. Body pain
  5. Yellow skin (jaundice)
  6. Seizure
  7. Kidney failure
  8. Confusion
  9. Bloody stools
  10. Convulsions

Malaria Diagnosis

Usually, a blood test helps to detect malaria. However, your doctor will ask you about your medical history and any recent travel for physical examination.

Performing a blood test will help to determine:

  1. If the parasite is present in your blood
  2. If yes, which medications can work against the parasite that is detected
  3. If your body’s immune system has activated against the parasite

Treatment of malaria

Treatment of malaria depends on various factors such as:

  1. By which parasitic strain you have been infected
  2. How mild or severe are your symptoms
  3. The geographic area where you got infected
  4. Your age
  5. If you are pregnant or not

Medications that doctor’s recommended

1. Chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine: Your doctor may advise this drug to treat malaria. If you do not have any severe symptoms, and if you’re in an area where the parasite has not shown resistance to chloroquine or hydroxychloroquine.

2. Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT): This is a combinational drug that works in different ways. This therapy helps in treating mild to moderate malaria symptoms or as part of a treatment plan for severe cases of malaria.

3. Atovaquone-proguanil, artemether-lumefantrine: These combinations are other alternative drugs to treat malaria in regions where the parasite is showing resistance to chloroquine. These drugs are suitable for children as well.

4. Mefloquine: Mefloquine is a drug, which is another alternative if chloroquine does not work. However, there are various side effects of this drug. This drug helps people with complicated malaria.

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