Symptoms

Symptoms

Malaria symptoms can be classified in two categories: uncomplicated and severe malaria. Uncomplicated malaria is diagnosed when symptoms are present, but there are no clinical or laboratory signs to indicate a severe infection or the dysfunction of vital organs. Individuals suffering from this form, can eventually develop severe malaria if the disease is left untreated, or if they have poor or no immunity to the disease.
Symptoms of uncomplicated malaria typically last 6-10 hours and occur in cycles that occur every second day, although some strains of the parasite can cause a longer cycle or mixed symptoms. Symptoms are often flu-like and may be undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in areas where malaria is less common. In areas where malaria is common, many patients recognize the symptoms as malaria and treat themselves without proper medical care.
Uncomplicated malaria typically has the following progression of symptoms through cold, hot and sweating stages:
• Sensation of cold, shivering
• Fever, headaches, and vomiting (seizures sometimes occur in young children)
• Sweats followed by a return to normal temperature, with tiredness.
Severe malaria is defined by clinical or laboratory evidence of vital organ dysfunction. This form has the capacity to be fatal if left untreated. Symptoms of severe malaria include:
• Fever and chills
• Impaired consciousness
• Prostration (adopting a prone or prayer position)
• Multiple convulsions
• Deep breathing and respiratory distress
• Abnormal bleeding and signs of anemia
• Clinical jaundice and evidence of vital organ dysfunction.