MALARIA

Malaria is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes which mainly bite at dusk and at night. If it isn’t diagnosed and treated promptly, it can be fatal. It is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium. There are 5 types of Plasmodium parasites known to cause disease in humans.

The Plasmodium falciparum parasite causes the most severe malaria symptoms and most deaths.

As complications of severe malaria can occur within hours or days of the first symptoms, it’s important to seek urgent medical help as soon as possible.

Complications of Malaria include:

  • anemia- destruction of red blood cells
  • cerebral malariacan cause your brain to swell, sometimes leading to permanent brain damage.
  • liver failure
  • jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • shock – a sudden drop in blood pressure
  • pulmonary edema– a build-up of fluid in the lungs
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • hypoglycemia
  • kidney failure
  • swelling and rupturing of the spleen
  • dehydration

The initial symptoms of malaria are flu-like and include:

  • fever
  • headache
  • Sweats
  • Chills
  • vomiting

DIAGNOSIS

  • History and Physical Examination
    • History of travel to a country known to have a large number of malaria cases
    • The doctor will checked for an enlarged liver of spleen.
  • Laboratory Tests
    • Blood tests

 

RECOMMENDED MEDICATIONS

Antimalarial medication

  • Antimalarial medications are widely used for the treatment and prevention of Malaria. There are special considerations when taking these medications and it is best to see your doctor before taking the medication.
  • Before travelling to areas endemic with malaria, it is wise to ask your doctor which medication is best taken since there are certain types of malaria resistant to some of the medications.
  • Your doctor may recommend using a combination of different antimalarials to overcome strains of malaria that have become resistant to single types of medication.
  • The type of antimalarial tablets you will be prescribed is based on the following information:
    • where you’re going
    • any relevant family medical history
    • your medical history, including any allergies to medication
    • any medication you’re currently taking
    • any problems you’ve had with antimalarial medicines in the past
    • your age
    • whether you’re pregnant
  • Antimalarial medications used are:
    • Atovaquone plus proguanil
    • Doxycycline
    • Mefloquine
    • Chloroquine and proguanil

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