Malaria

Malaria is a very serious disease. Sometimes it can be life-threatening. It is generally transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. The infected mosquitos carry a plasmodium parasite which is transmitted to you and released into your bloodstream when bitten.


  • Over 1600 cases of malaria reported in the UK in 2016
  • Treated using anti-malarial medicines

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Malaria

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DescriptionCausesTypes of treatmentQuestions and answers

Malaria is a serious mosquito-borne infectious disease. Plasmodium is a parasite present in the infected female mosquitoes. It passes on to humans by a bite. High fever, chills, and flu-like illness are the basic symptoms. Malaria can infect people of any age. Travellers to countries where malaria is present may be at risk for infection. Although malaria can be a fatal disease, illness and death caused by this deadly infection can be averted.


Parasites that enter red blood cells begin to rapidly multiply, which forces the infected cells to burst open. This process continues over time which results in symptoms arising. The symptoms tend to last for two to three days at a time and will appear to occur in cycles.


Common symptoms of malaria can include:


  • Fatigue
  • High fever
  • Headaches
  • Profusely sweating
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Moderate to severe chills


During the early stages, symptoms can often be confused for those of other, less serious infections cause bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Typically, symptoms first develop anywhere from 8 days to 4 weeks since initially contracting the infection; though it can be as long as several months. Most cases of malaria appear in tropical and subtropical climates where the parasites thrive. Such areas include Africa, Southern Asia, Central & South America.


Malaria occurs when a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you and releases the parasite into your bloodstream. There are many species of Plasmodium worldwide, but only 5 of their species have the ability to infect humans and cause malaria. These are:


  • P. malariae: Can be found worldwide
  • P. vivax: Usually found in Asia and Latin America
  • P. ovale: Typically found in Africa and the Pacific islands
  • P. falciparum: Can be found in tropical and subtropical areas
  • P. knowlesi: Usually found throughout Southeast Asia


It is possible for an infected pregnant mother to pass on the disease to her baby during the delivery process. This is referred to as congenital malaria.


Malaria is transmitted through blood, which means it can potentially be passed on through:


  • A transfusion
  • Organ transplants
  • Sharing used needles

Treatment can prevent malaria and can be used to treat the disease if you have already contracted it. The route of treatment is prescribed based on different factors, including:


  • The severity of your symptoms
  • Any side effects of the medicine
  • The exact species of parasite which has infected you
  • Geographic location where you were transmitted malaria
  • Your current condition (age, whether you are pregnant, etc.)
  • Whether the medicine you are acquiring is to prevent or treat malaria
  • Whether the parasite could be resistant to certain methods of treatment


During the treatment, if the parasite was to become resistant to the medicine you’ve been prescribed, you may need to use multiple medicines at once or change the current course of treatment altogether. Based on the factors above, you will be administered a specific medication in either pill form or delivered as an intravenous antibiotic. We stock the following medicines for malaria:


  • Chloroquine
  • Doxycycline
  • Proguanil
  • Chloroquine
  • Mefloquine
  • Malarone, Atovaquone


There has always been a struggle in finding an efficient antimalarial medicine due to an ongoing battle between constantly evolving drug-resistant parasites and the search for completely new drug formulations. For instance, in Sub-Saharan Africa, some of the more outdated drugs, such as chloroquine, are now rendered largely ineffective.



If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.


Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!


Is malaria a contagious disease?

It is not spread from person to person. For example, you cannot get malaria from simply coming into contact with someone who is infected.


How is malaria transmitted?

Malaria will typically be transmitted through the bite of an anopheline mosquito which is carrying the infection. The only other means of transmission is through blood transfusion. In cases of congenital malaria, the infection can be transmitted from a pregnant mother to their child prior to/during birth.


Is there a cure for malaria?

There are ongoing studies around the world, testing various different methods and approaches. However, none are expected to be widely available anytime soon. If you treat the disease effectively and hastily, it will potentially be able to be cured.


Who is most at risk of falling ill and dying from malaria?

Those at highest risk of becoming seriously ill and dying from malaria are children, pregnant women, and travellers who have never previously been exposed to the infection. The most affected group for deaths would be children below the age of 5 who live in Sub-Saharan Africa.



If you are looking for some expert help, book an ONLINE consultation with our GMC Registered Clinicians at alldayDr.com.


Patient discretion and confidentiality top the priority list at alldayDr.com!