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Malaria (cont.)

Malaria Incubation Period

The incubation period between infection with malaria by a mosquito bite and initial symptoms may range from one week to one year. Generally, the incubation period ranges from nine to 14 days for P. falciparum, 12-18 days for P. vivax, and 18-40 days for P. ovale.

Malaria Symptoms and Signs

With malaria, the patient develops a high fever, which comes and goes. The pattern of fevers may vary according to the species of malaria. However, there does not have to be a pattern to the fever. Initially, malaria feels like the flu with high fever, fatigue, and body aches, with hot and cold stages. Signs and symptoms in children may be nonspecific, leading to delays in diagnosis. People also may have headache, nausea, shaking chills (rigors), sweating, and weakness. Anemia is common in patients with malaria, in part due to the effects of the Plasmodium parasite on the red cells. It is extremely uncommon for malaria to cause skin lesions or rash.

P. falciparum causes a particularly severe form of malaria. In addition to fever, patients may experience complications such as severe hemolytic anemia caused by destruction of the red cells, yellow skin discoloration, kidney failure, pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), cerebral malaria, convulsions, coma, or death.

People who have lived for years in areas with malaria may develop a partial immunity to new infections, although this will wane if they leave the area.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/1/2015

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Malaria »

Malaria, which predominantly occurs in tropical areas, is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by infection with Plasmodium protozoa transmitted by an infective female Anopheles mosquito vector.

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