Recurrence of Malaria Symptoms


If a person suffering from malaria is given the proper treatment and he gets well but he again develops the symptoms of malaria..? These symptoms would arise from liver or blood? Who’ll be responsible for the recurrence of the symptoms?


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.