General Illness Information
Medical Term: Plasmodium infection
Common Name: Malaria
Description: Malaria is a group of diseases caused by the introduction into human erythrocytes of various species of the single-cell plasmodium microorganism (Plasmodium).
The disease is caused by one of four types of malarial parasites, called plasmodia. Plasmodium enters the bloodstream of a person with a bite of an infected mosquito. It is known that mosquitoes of the Anopheles species are active usually at night.
Signs & Symptoms:
The disease occurs with periods of fever and normal exacerbations.
The main symptoms of malaria:
- severe headache;
- pain in the muscles;
- vomiting, severe dizziness;
- general excitement;
- pain in the lumbar region;
- red face and sclera;
- frequent pulse;
- arterial pressure decreased;
- hot and dry skin;
- hands and feet are cold;
- herpetic rashes on the face;
- the liver and spleen are enlarged in size.
After sweating, a dream comes. During the interictal period, the patients are able to work, but with the course of the disease progress their condition worsens, they lose weight, skin becomes yellowish.
The most severe type is tropical malaria. In this case, the following symptoms of malaria are added:
- severe pain in the joints and throughout the body;
- signs of meningitis;
- delusional state of consciousness;
- suffocation attacks;
- frequent vomiting with an admixture of blood;
- increased liver.
The basis for the preliminary diagnosis are periodic attacks of chills and fever for no apparent reason. And if the patient’s spleen is enlarged and he visited the malarial area during the previous year, then the diagnosis of malaria is most often confirmed. For the selection of an adequate treatment, it is necessary to determine the type of plasmodium, so the blood of the patient is taken for analysis.
With all forms of malaria, the number of leukocytes in the blood remains within normal limits, but the number of lymphocytes and monocytes increases. Also, with a large number of parasites in the blood, the sugar level decreases.
For the treatment of malaria, special anti-malarial drugs are used, which have a harmful effect on plasmodium. In addition, antipyretic agents and infusion therapy are necessarily used.
In addition to the very unpleasant symptoms of the disease, malaria may cause dangerous complications:
- liver damage;
- a strong cough with bloody sputum;
- heart failure;
- brain damage, accompanied by convulsions, mental disorders, paralysis or coma;
- hemoglobinuria fever characterized by massive destruction of erythrocytes and leading to acute jaundice, excretion of hemoglobin in the urine, loss of consciousness and renal insufficiency.
The main measure of prevention is protection against mosquito bites.
When traveling to a malarious area, you need to take special medicines with you, which you need to start one week before the trip and within a month after your return. Most often, chloroquine is used. If strains of malaria pathogens are resistant to this drug, mefloquine and doxycycline are used. Doxycycline should not be taken by pregnant women and children under the age of 8. Taking medications does not guarantee 100% protection against malaria, therefore at the first signs of the disease you should consult your doctor.