Common, early malaria symptoms are chills, fever, headache, and body aches.
Malaria is a parasite (Plasmodium) that is spread to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Mosquitoes in turn become infected after biting an infected human. The disease is common worldwide in tropical regions.
Four Plasmodium species infect humans. Plasmodium falcioparum is the most severe and most dangerous malaria infection and can be fatal.
Malaria infection symptoms may begin to appear as much as a year following initial exposure and infection. Once active the parasite multiplies in the liver and then invade red blood cells.
Once inside red blood cells the parasite multiplies further, eventually causing the cells to rupture.
- severe fever
- body aches
- loss of appetite
- profuse sweating
Diagnosis is typically through physical examination, discussion of travel history, and perhaps blood testing for confirmation. Blood testing could identify Plasmodium falcioparum infection which would require critical treatment.
Treatment is typically through through drug administration. These drugs can act as both a prevention and as a treatment. Proper routine and scheduling of taking the drugs is required.
Prevention is key in avoiding malaria infection. Measures involve avoidance of being in contact with, or being bitten by, mosquitoes.
Insect repellents, wearing long sleeve shirts and long pants, and avoiding mosquito breeding areas are effective preventative steps.