Malaria

  • Medical Author:
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

  • Medical Editor: Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP
    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP

    Mary D. Nettleman, MD, MS, MACP is the Chair of the Department of Medicine at Michigan State University. She is a graduate of Vanderbilt Medical School, and completed her residency in Internal Medicine and a fellowship in Infectious Diseases at Indiana University.

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What is the prognosis of malaria?

If diagnosed early and if the appropriate antibiotics are available and used, the prognosis of malaria is very good.

Worldwide, malaria is responsible for 500,000-800,000 deaths per year. The majority of victims are young children from sub-Saharan Africa. Death is usually due to lack of available treatment or access to treatment.

P. falciparum tends to be the species causing the most complications and has a high mortality if untreated.

Cerebral malaria, a complication of P. falciparum malaria, has a 20% mortality rate even if treated.

Is there a malaria vaccine?

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent malaria. Due to the diversity of the Plasmodium species and the P. falciparum species being the most deadly parasite, most efforts are currently directed toward a P. falciparum vaccine.

In 2013, an early stage vaccine trial showed some success.

Can malaria reoccur after treatment?

P. vivax and P. ovale can hibernate in the liver and cause relapsing disease weeks or months after the patient is symptom free.

Medically reviewed by Robert Cox, MD; American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Infectious Disease

REFERENCE:

Tintinalli, Judith E., ed. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2011: 1056-1062.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/21/2015

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