What are the symptoms of malaria?
Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and jaundice (yellow coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. Symptoms usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. Infection with one type of malaria, Plasmodium falciparum, if not promptly treated, may cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma, and death. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.
For most people, symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, although a person may feel ill as early as 7 days or as late as 1 year later. Two kinds of malaria, P. vivax and P. ovale, can occur again (relapsing malaria). In P. vivax and P. ovale infections, some parasites can remain dormant in the liver for several months up to about 4 years after a person is bitten by an infected mosquito. When these parasites come out of hibernation and begin invading red blood cells (“relapse”), the person will become sick.
Infection with malaria parasites may result in a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from absent or very mild symptoms to severe disease and even death. Malaria disease can be categorized as uncomplicated or severe/complicated. In general, malaria is a curable disease if diagnosed and treated promptly and correctly.