World Malaria Day 2022: Lesser-known symptoms of malaria to watch out for

  • World Malaria Day 2022: Malaria can also cause low blood sugar, kidney failure or seizures.  Here are other lesser-known symptoms of the mosquito-borne disease.
World Malaria Day is observed every year on April 25 (Unsplash)
World Malaria Day is observed every year on April 25 (Unsplash)
Published on Apr 21, 2022 10:24 AM IST
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World Malaria Day 2022: Malaria, a disease caused by parasites, is spread to humans through bite of an infected mosquito. It can be life-threatening if not treated on time although it is very much preventable and curable. A person infected by malaria parasites would typically start showing symptoms in 10-15 days of infection, though it's possible that the parasites remain dormant for up to one year. The symptoms of malaria include fever, chills, headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain, rapid breathing, cough among others. (Also read: Malaria control in young children saves lives into adulthood: Study)

To spread awareness about the disease, World Malaria Day is observed every year on April 25. The theme this year is - “Harness innovation to reduce the malaria disease burden and save lives.”

According to WHO, Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease that continues to have a devastating impact on the health and livelihood of people around the world. "In 2020, there were an estimated 241 million new cases of malaria and 627 000 malaria-related deaths in 85 countries. More than two thirds of deaths were among children under the age of 5 living in the WHO African Region," according to World Health Organisation.

While everyone known about the common symptoms of malaria from fever, chills, headache, there are other lesser-known manifestations of the disease that you should be aware of.

According to Dr RVS Bhalla, Director Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital, Faridabad here are some lesser-known symptoms of Malaria.

Low platelet count or WBC count: Not just dengue, a person with malaria too will have a low platelet count.

Low blood sugar: A person who is infected with malaria may have low blood sugar levels and there may experience alteration in their senses - like distorted hearing, vision, touch, sensation, smell etc.

Kidney failure: Kidney complications in malaria mainly occur due to hemodynamic dysfunction and immune response. This is another symptom that could be visible with the passage of coca cola colour or decreased urine output.

Unconsciousness or seizures: Cerebral malaria could develop in a small minority of infected patients and could lead to death. Patients may develop fever, headache, body ache, delirium and coma.

Dr Vikrant Shah, consulting physician, intensivist and infection disease specialist, Zen Multispeciality Hospital Chembur elaborates on some other common and rare symptoms of malaria.

• Myalgia: It can be termed as muscle pains, aches, and pain associated with ligaments, tendons, and the soft tissues that connect bones and organs is one of the lesser-known symptoms of malaria. If you have constant muscle pain then you need to consult the doctor without any delay.

• Jaundice: It is a yellow colouring of the skin or eyes caused by too much bilirubin in the body. It is one of the symptoms of malaria that one needs to watch out for.

• Malaise: This means a feeling of weakness, overall discomfort, illness, or simply not feeling well is commonly linked to malaria.

• Arthralgia: It is joint stiffness and is a common occurrence in malaria. It can be worrisome and steal one’s peace of mind. So, visit the doctor after noticing joint stiffness.

• Anaemia: This happens when the blood does not carry enough oxygen to the other parts of the body. Low iron levels can lead to anaemia. So, be careful and just seek immediate medical assistance.

• Shortness of breath: This symptom is unusual and can be seen in some people with malaria.

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Sunday, July 03, 2022