My 18 yo son in on a study abroad in Bangalore, India. He has been in India since July 1st and toured Northern India the first 6 days that he was there. He woke up yesterday with horrible chills/shakes, then transitioned into a fever for several hours, then fever broke and was sweating for another 3 hours, while having a migraine behind his eyes. He did you go to the doctor and was told he has Malaria. He has been on Doxycycline since 2 days before leaving to go to India. He is also taking Colloidal Silver everyday. The Dr gave him some medicine today (he has not told me the name yet) and told him to come back on Monday for a blood test. What I would like to know is—is it possible for this to be completely treated? Or will he always have some of the parasite left in his system?
A blood test can diagnose if malaria is present and which kind of malarial parasite is causing the illness. Usually it is done when the person first presents themselves at the clinic with malarial symptoms. Sometimes, a health worker will treat the person based on symptoms alone, although having a blood test is recommended if available.
Malaria can come back in three ways: first of all, the person could have been successfully treated, but then re-infected again by being bitten by an infected mosquito. In these cases, the person should focus on improved malaria prevention, such as sleeping under a long-lasting insecticide treated bednet.
Secondly, the patient could have recrudescence: when the patient takes medication, the treatment kills most of the malaria parasites in the blood, and enough so the patient feels better again, but some parasites still remain. Then, after the treatment finished, the parasite is able to replicate again, they increase in number in the blood and the patient feels ill again. In this case, you would say the infection came back from the blood, and the patient should take another dose of anti-malarials, but of a different kind to that which they originally had, in order to kill all of the parasites.
Finally, there is what is called relapse, which only occurs with two types of malaria: Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium ovale. These are able to form dormant stages in the liver, so even when all the parasites are killed in the blood by the malarial treatment, these dormant forms survive. Many weeks, months or even years later, these dormant liver stages can re-activate and enter the blood again, causing new malaria symptoms. In this case, the liver was the source of the parasites. Again, the active blood infection should be treated with anti-malarials, but the patient should also talk to their doctor about taking primaquine, a drug which can kill any remaining dormant liver forms and thus prevent future relapses.
I hope this answers your questions and that your son recovers soon.