Malaria Symptoms & Treatment

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Malaria is a serious disease transmitted through the bite of an infective female Anopheles mosquito. The Anopheles mosquitoes can only transmit malaria and they must have been infected through a previous blood meal taken from an infected person. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, if not treated properly, malaria can cause severe health problems such as seizures, brain damage, trouble breathing, organ failure and death.

Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared use of needles or syringes contaminated with blood. It may also be transmitted from an infected mother to her unborn infant before or during delivery called congenital malaria.

Difference between Malaria & Dengue?

Malaria and dengue are both mosquito-borne diseases. The difference between the two are:

▪ Malaria results in intermittent and remittent fever. Dengue results in sudden fever and acute pains in the joints.

▪ Dengue is transmitted by an infected Aedes aegypti mosquito bite and spreads when an uninfected mosquito bites an infected person whereas, malaria is transmitted through the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. 

▪ The incubation period for dengue fever ranges from three to fourteen days after being bitten by the infected mosquito. The onset of malarial fever is ten to fifteen days.

▪ In dengue, the bite from the Aedes aegypti mosquito is the only known mode of transmission of the dengue disease while malaria can be transmitted through mosquito vectors, infected needles and transfusion.

▪ Malaria symptoms include chill, fever, fainting, headache and myalgia. Dengue symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, dry cough and constipation.

Signs & Symptoms 

Malaria signs and symptoms typically begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. In some cases, symptoms may not develop for several months. However, some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in the body for up to a year.

Common symptoms of malaria include:

▪ High Fever 

▪ Shaking chills

▪ Feeling of discomfort

▪ Headache

▪ Muscle aches

▪ Tiredness

▪ Nausea and vomiting

▪ Diarrhea 

▪ Anemia and jaundice 

▪ Abdominal pain

▪ Rapid breathing or heart rate

▪ Cough

If you have severe symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.


To diagnose malaria, the doctor will ask about your medical history and recent travel, conduct a physical exam, and order blood tests where a drop of your blood is examined for the presence of malaria parasites. If you are sick and there is any suspicion of malaria, the tests should be performed without delay.


Malaria should be treated early before it becomes serious and life-threatening. It is important to see a doctor if you are sick and are presently in, or have recently been in, an area with malaria so that the disease is diagnosed and treated right away.

Malaria can be cured with prescription drugs. The type of drugs and length of treatment depends upon:

▪ Type of malaria 

▪ Where the person was infected

▪ The severity of symptoms

▪ Age

▪ Whether you are pregnant

▪ How sick you are at the start of treatment


Malaria deaths are usually related to one or more life-threatening complications, including:

▪ Cerebral malaria: swelling of the blood vessels of the brain. It may cause seizures and coma.

▪ Breathing problems: Accumulated fluid in your lungs (pulmonary oedema) can make it difficult to breathe.

▪ Organ failure: Malaria can damage the kidneys or liver or cause the spleen to rupture. 

▪ Anemia: Due to the destruction of red blood cells

▪ Low blood sugar: Severe forms of malaria can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). Very low blood sugar can result in coma or death.


To protect yourself from mosquito bites, you should:

▪ Cover your skin: Wear long pants and a long-sleeved shirt to cover your skin.

▪ Apply insect repellent to skin: Use an insect repellent with DEET (diethyltoluamide) on exposed skin.

▪ Apply repellent to clothing: Sprays containing permethrin are safe to apply to clothing.

▪ Sleep under a net: Bed nets can help prevent mosquito bites while you are sleeping.

▪ Cover windows and doors with nets and screens

▪ Avoid going outdoors without protection in the evening


Malaria can be life-threatening without treatment. However, early diagnosis makes treatment more effective. It is also important to seek treatment right away if you think you have malaria or have visited an area where it is common.

If you have had malaria before, you can get it again if an infected mosquito bites you from months up to 20 years later, depending on the type of infection.

To book an online or physical consultation with the best Infectious Disease Specialist/Internal Medicine Specialist/Family Physician in Karachi visit You can also download the Shifaam Health App from Google Play Store ( or the iOS App Store ( We are just a call 021-37132273 or Whatsapp 0347 7222273 away! If you are experiencing symptoms related to malaria, you should schedule an appointment with an Infectious Disease Specialist/Internal Medicine Specialist/Family Physician in Karachi at your earliest. For more information on these doctors in Karachi or for an appointment with experienced doctors click on the links below:


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