I’m hoping to get some clarity on the following, as I’ve had a few rather large disparities in the information I’ve been given. My mother (66) recently had a very serious bout of Malaria and was hospitalised in Johannesburg for just over a week. (Both my Mom and Dad live in Tete, Mozambique) At one stage, she almost needed a blood transfusion as her parasite count was above 10% (12,5% to be precise). While Dr’s decided against the transfusion eventually, I would like to know how long it takes for her blood count to return to normal (she’s been out of hospital for almost 5 weeks now) as she would like to return to Mozambique. I’m grateful for any advice you can proffer.
A parasite count over 10% is indeed serious, but new findings suggest that if artesunate compounds are used for treatment, transfusions don’t add much, so if that is the case, the decision not to give a transfusion is probably a good one. Artesunate compounds are noted for reducing the parasite load quickly compared to other drugs (i.e.quinine), usually by 48 hours. Since your mother had severe malaria, she may also be suffering from anaemia which can make her feel very weak. She will need to rest and recuperate, take iron supplements and eat a nutritious diet with iron-rich foods (green vegetables, red meat etc). She must also take precautions to avoid getting malaria when back in Mozambique; use an insecticide treated bed net, avoid going out at dawn or dusk and/or wear long sleeves and long pants, use mosquito repellent, and seek treatment early if any signs of malaria (fever etc) appear.