Malaria is a life-threatening disease that is typically transmitted through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Read on to the full story to find out what causes malaria, its symptoms and its diagnosis
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
- The symptoms of malaria usually develop within 10 days to 4 weeks, following an infection.
- Chills, fever, headache, body pain and rapid heart rate are some of the common symptoms of malaria.
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that is caused by parasites that are typically transmitted through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasites and once they bite humans, the parasite is released into their bloodstreams. Malaria is common in tropical and subtropical climates (hot and humid) where the parasites can live and are generally active.
What causes Malaria?
People get infected with Malaria when a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites them. The parasite is then released into their bloodstreams. Furthermore, when the parasites enter the body, they travel to the liver where they mature and begin to infect red blood cells. They even multiply inside the red blood cells, due to which the infected cells burst open.
P. falciparum, which is a kind of parasite, can cause a more severe form of malaria which even increases the risk of death.
Malaria can be transmitted by blood transfusion. Also, a pregnant woman suffering from malaria can even transmit the deadly disease to her child before or during birth. In rare cases, organ donations and the use of hypodermic needles can also cause malaria.
Here are some signs and symptoms of Malaria
Once infected, the symptoms of malaria usually develop within 10 days to 4 weeks. However, in some cases, symptoms may even take several months to show up. It happens because the malarial parasites enter the human body but remain inactive or dormant for a long period of time.
Early identification of symptoms will help you with getting quick treatment before it’s too late. Therefore, you must remain alert and watch out for the symptoms of malaria.
Most common symptoms of malaria
- Shaking chills (can range from moderate to severe)
- high fever and profuse sweating
- headache and abdominal pain
- nausea or vomiting
- fatigue and diarrhoea
- muscle, joint or body pain
- rapid breathing and rapid heart rate
Severe symptoms of malaria are as follows:
Being late in diagnosing the symptoms can make the situation worse and can lead to signs of vital organ dysfunction which may happen in severe malaria. Some people may even experience ‘malaria attacks’, which usually starts with shivering and chills followed by a high fever and sweating.
Some severe malaria symptoms include:
- Multiple convulsions
- breathing problems and respiratory distress
- anemia and abnormal bleeding
- mild jaundice
- unconsciousness or impaired consciousness
How is Malaria diagnosed?
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), at least 219 million people are affected due to malaria every year with 4,00,000 deaths annually.
However, early diagnosis of malaria is necessary to lower the risk of complications or fatalities. Malaria can be diagnosed through a blood test and can be treated with anti-malarial drugs and good hydration. Medical professionals also review a patient’s health history and perform a physical examination to diagnose if you have an enlarged spleen or liver, which further confirms if you’ve malaria.
If malaria is not diagnosed on time, it can cause serious health problems such as difficulty in breathing, brain damage, multiple organ failure and can even lead to death in extreme cases.