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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Children's Health Malaria in children

Malaria in children

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Malaria is a chronic disease. It affects the humans through mosquitoes. Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells. It is prevalent mainly in tropical and sub-tropical regions.

There are various species of plasmodium. The four important species that are commonly involved in malaria in the humans are:


  • P. falciparum: This species, predominant in Africa, produces the most severe symptoms and is responsible for most malaria deaths.
  • P. vivax: This species, found mostly in tropical areas of Asia, produces less severe symptoms but can remain in your liver and cause relapses for up to four years.
  • P. malariae: This species, found in Africa, can cause typical malaria symptoms, but on rare occasions it can remain in your bloodstream for years without producing symptoms. In these cases, you may pass on the parasite to a mosquito or to another person through a blood transfusion.
  • P. ovale: This species is found mostly in West Africa. Although rare, it can also remain in your liver and cause relapses for up to four years.

Symptoms:

Symptoms of the malaria usually show its effect after 10-15 days of mosquito bite.The common symptoms are:


  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Sometimes vomiting
  • Shivering
  • Fever with cool body
  • Pain in limps
  • light headedness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Coma (in severe cases) Feeling tingling in the skin.

Complications:

Most serious complications of malaria are associated with infection by P. falciparum. Among the complications are:


  • Anemia. This can result from extensive destruction of red blood cells.
  • Cerebral malaria. If parasite-filled blood cells block small blood vessels to your brain (cerebral malaria), swelling of your brain or brain damage may occur.

Other complications may include:

  • Breathing problems, at times severe in the form of accumulated fluid in your lungs (pulmonary edema)
  • Dehydration
  • Liver failure
  • Kidney failure
  • Enlarged spleen

Diagnosis of malaria:

It is done by sample (peripheral smear) of blood for observation under a microscope. Two blood samples, taken at six- and 12-hour intervals, can usually confirm the presence of the malaria parasite and its type.

Treatment of malaria:

Malaria can be effectively with one or more of the following medications:


  • Chloroquine (Aralen)
  • Quinine sulfate (Qualaquin)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Combination of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine (Fansidar)
  • Mefloquine (Lariam)
  • Combination of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone)
  • Doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin, others).
  • Artemisinin-derived medications: Another class of ant malarial drugs, often prescribed in Asia and now in other parts of the world, is derived from artemisinin, a sweet wormwood extract. Artesunate is an example of an artemisinin derivative.
  • Primaquine: This drug may be given to fight the dormant liver form of the parasite and prevent relapses.
  • Halofantrine.

Prevention of malaria:

As malaria can be caught before going to advanced stage but if you ignore these symptoms sometimes it become life threatening.


  • Preventative drugs must be taken continuously to reduce the risk of infection.
  • Use nets, mosquito repellants or creams can be used when you are sleeping in open area.
  • Indoor residual spraying with insecticide to control the vector mosquitoes.
  • You can use insecticides, and ant malarial drugs are effective tools to fight malaria in areas where it is transmitted.
  • Travelers can avoid malaria risk with taking anti malarial dose.