Malaria

Understand malaria, and its causes and symptoms.

Malaria

Definition

Malaria is a serious sometimes life-threatening infection caused by plasmodium parasites spread to humans by mosquitoes. Once inside the red blood cells, the parasites continue to multiply, leading to the destruction of the red blood cells. Malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical countries.

Causes

Malaria is caused when an infected mosquito bites a person and injects the plasmodium parasites into the bloodstream. You can also catch malaria from exposure to infected blood through blood transfusions, sharing needles, or from mother to unborn child.

Symptoms

Malaria symptoms typically appear within 10 to 15 days after the infected mosquito bite. Common malaria symptoms include:

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Profuse sweating
  • Headache
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Abdominal pain
  • Rapid breathing
  • Rapid heart rate

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