Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Once an infected mosquito bites you, the parasites multiply in your liver. The liver then releases these new malaria parasites back into the bloodstream, where they infect red blood cells and multiply further.
Some malaria parasites remain in the liver and do not circulate till later, resulting in recurrence.
Signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito.
Common symptoms include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle pain and fatigue
1. Cerebral malaria
If parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to your brain, it can lead to swelling of your brain or brain damage.
Cerebral malaria may cause seizures and a coma.
2. Breathing problems
Accumulated fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema) can make it difficult to breathe.
3. Organ failure
It can cause your kidneys or liver to fail, or your spleen to rupture. Any of these conditions can be life-threatening.
Malaria damages red blood cells, which can result in anemia.
5. Low blood sugar
Severe forms of malaria itself can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), as can quinine — one of the most common medications used to combat malaria. Very low blood sugar can result in coma or death.
- Sleeping under insecticide treatment bed nets
- Wearing clothing that covers most of the exposed skin and shoes that are closed to reduce the risk of mosquito bites.
- Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin.
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