Malaria Facts (cont.)

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What are malaria symptoms and signs?

Malaria has a wide spectrum of symptoms. After the bite by the infected mosquito occurs, it can take between seven and 30 days before symptoms start.

Malaria is classified as uncomplicated or complicated (severe).

Uncomplicated malaria

The most common symptoms are

The classic description of a malaria attack (which is rarely observed), would be a six to 12-hour period of cold and shivering alternating with fever and headaches and then a stage of sweating and tiredness (sometimes divided into the cold and hot stage).

As these symptoms are very nonspecific, it is important to evaluate if the patient has risk factors for malaria (usual travel in endemic areas).

Complicated or severe malaria

This occurs when different body systems are affected by malaria.

  • Severe anemia (due to destruction of red blood cells)
  • Kidney failure
  • Cerebral malaria -- seizures, unconsciousness, abnormal behavior, or confusion
  • Cardiovascular collapse
  • Low blood sugar (in pregnant women after treatment with quinine)
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/19/2014

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