Malaria - Symptoms

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What were your malaria symptoms and signs?

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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

  • fever and chills,
  • headaches,
  • nausea and vomiting,
  • general weakness and body aches.

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)
Return to Malaria

See what others are saying

Comment from: moggy, 19-24 Male (Patient) Published: March 20

I contracted malaria in West Africa very recently. The strange thing is it didn't appear until six weeks after I returned to the U.K. My initial symptoms were fatigue, severe chills followed by sweats, difficulty breathing, and frequent headaches. Thankfully, it wasn't the most severe form of the disease.

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Comment from: Malcolm, 55-64 Male Published: March 20

I had malaria in 1980 when I was working in Kenya. I spent six weeks in the hospital and lost a lot of weight, which made me very weak for weeks after. After a few years, I visited Bali. While I was there, I was bitten by a mosquito on the leg and had to have an injection because my leg had swollen up so bad. I had a difficult time walking. I have found over the years that I get a swelling to the area when I get bitten by a mosquito.

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