Acute Falciparum Malaria

Overview of Acute Falciparum Malaria

Acute falciparum malaria is a severe and potentially life-threatening illness caused by one of the deadliest parasites in the world, Plasmodium falciparum. It is most common in the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, Asia, Central and South America, and Oceania. It is the leading cause of death by a single parasite in humans, claiming hundreds of thousands of lives each year, primarily among children.

It affects people of all ages, with particularly high mortality rates in young children. Without prompt diagnosis and treatment, P. falciparum can cause serious illness and death.

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Falciparum Malaria

The signs and symptoms of acute falciparum malaria vary in severity from person to person. Common signs and symptoms include:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Muscle pain
  • Cough
  • Diarrhea
  • Jaundice
  • Anemia
  • Enlarged spleen

Severe signs and symptoms, known as cerebral malaria, can also occur. They include confusion, personality changes, tremors, and paralysis.

Diagnosis of Acute Falciparum Malaria

The diagnosis of acute falciparum malaria is typically made based on the clinical signs and symptoms. A medical history and physical exam can help to rule out other illnesses that cause similar signs and symptoms. Blood tests can also be done to detect the presence of the P. falciparum parasite in the blood.

Treatment of Acute Falciparum Malaria

Treatment of acute falciparum malaria involves a combination of medications. These may include chloroquine, quinine, or other antimalarial medications. The treatment plan should be supervised by a doctor and tailored to the individual. Treatment should be started as soon as possible after diagnosis to increase the chances of a full recovery.

Prevention of Acute Falciparum Malaria

The best way to prevent the spread of acute falciparum malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. Prevention measures include using insect repellents, wearing clothing that covers the arms and legs, using mosquito nets, and avoiding outdoor activities at night. A vaccine is also available in certain countries to help protect against P. falciparum infection.