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Having fever and pain. Chances of malaria relapse?

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Practicing since : 2002
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My daughter is a student at Samford in Birmingham. She contracted malaria this summer (2011) while in Kenya. She was treated but I understand relapses can occur. She doesn't feel well and tells me over the phone that some of the pain she's experiencing is similar to what she felt like with malaria. Her doctors in GA suggested she go to UAB when she was sick or had a fever and to subsequently be tested for malaria as they diagnosed her. Can you tell me where she needs to go at UAB to be tested and if she needs to make an appointment?
Posted Mon, 30 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 2 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

From the question you submitted it seems that your daughter previously was treated for malaria. You are correct in assuming that sometimes malaria can remain dormant in the bloodstream.

At this point it is extremely important that she obtain a consultation with a licensed hematologist. I know that you requested an exact contact at the University of Alabama but I do not have this information at my disposal. I recommend that you go to the website at the University of Alabama and see who is in the network that would be able to provide her with medical care and consultation. And appointment is certainly necessary. 

I understand that your daughter is not feeling very well at this point. If she is really having significant difficulty performing her day to day activities and is not functional she should report to the nearest emergency room for evaluation.

I think your daughter should visit with a hematologist who can visualize her red blood cells under the microscope and work with a pathologist and possibly an infectious disease specialist to make sure that she has received the optimal treatment and management for this malaria. I am confident that she will have a good outcome related to this.

We should also not dismiss the fact that her current illness is possibly not related to her history of malaria. A thorough consultation as well as physical examination and possibly some lab work can help us make sure this is not the case.

I thank you very much for submitting your question. I'm sure you were dealing with quite a bit of anxiety and stress related to what is going on and I hope I can provide you with some good direction. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
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