is an infectious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. This disease is transmitted to humans by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito, which is found in some areas of the world such as Africa, Central America and Southeast Asia. Once in the body, Plasmodium remains in the liver and red blood cells. There are several types of Plasmodium, the most frequently encountered are not very serious, but their resurgence can be in life-threatening forms.
Infection is manifested by:
- a high fever;
- widespread abdominal, joint, and muscle pain, headache;
- digestive disorders with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea;
- gastroenteritis with high fever.
The parasite then remains in the body, including the liver, and can cause malaria symptoms with successive appearance:
- first, chills appearing suddenly and in less than two hours;
- then, a high fever lasting for a few hours;
- and finally, significant sweating.
These symptoms will occur in crises, every two to three days.
Sometimes, neurological signs such as seizures or coma
can evoke cerebral malaria, which can quickly lead to death.
Without treatment, the disease progresses to "visceral malaria " with fever, jaundice
and an increased spleen size. This is due to the infestation of red blood cells by the parasite.
For the diagnosis of malaria, a doctor must observe attacks of fever, their intensity and frequency. A blood test will show a decrease in red blood cells, platelets, and an increase of the specific protein of inflammation, CRP. A blood smear can confirm malaria and characterize the type of parasite involved.
Malaria can be treated by the administration of quinine by mouth, or hospitalization in severe cases.
To prevent malaria, take all necessary precautions before you travel to areas where the parasite is active. The doctor will give the drugs necessary to prevent this: anti-malarial chemoprophylaxis does not entirely prevent infection. Meanwhile, measures to prevent mosquito bites are necessary: use of insecticides, mosquito nets, long clothes covering the entire body and repellents applied to the body.