Malaria: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, Prevention and Diet

Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease that can cause fever and sometimes fatal complications. Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It often causes no symptoms, but in severe cases it can lead to death.

The parasites cannot develop inside the mosquito and so must reach the human host before they mature enough to reproduce. This happens when a female mosquito takes her blood meal from an infected person and then transfers the parasites into another person when she bites them again later.

The World Health Organization estimates that there are 216 million cases of malaria each year worldwide with an estimated 445,000 deaths annually.

In this article, we will discuss about the symptoms, causes, diagnosis, treatment and prevention as well as foods that should be taken when you have malaria disease.


There are Four types of malaria:

  1. Plasmodium falciparum malaria: The most common type and the most severe form of the disease.
  2. Plasmodium vivax malaria: The most common form in Africa and Latin America; it has milder symptoms than other types.
  3. Plasmodium ovale malaria: It is the second most common malaria parasite in the world caused by protozoan parasites of the Plasmodium type. The clinical manifestations are similar to those caused by P. falciparum but milder and less frequent than those seen with P. vivax or P. malariae infections.
  4. Plasmodium malariae: This type of malaria is found in the tropical and subtropical regions of Central and South America, Africa, and South East Asia. It’s not considered as lethal as the others but ranks third in prevalence. Chills and high fever are the usual malaria symptoms.

The first three types can lead to severe disease and death if not properly treated with anti-malarial drugs such as chloroquine or artemisinin combination


Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is a major cause of illness and death among young children in Africa. Malaria symptoms vary from person to person.

The following are some common malaria symptoms:

  • Fever
  • Shaking Chills
  • Headache
  • Muscle Aches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Confusion
  • Rash
  • Dry cough
  • Sore Mouth

Malaria is one of the leading causes of death among children under five years old. Malaria signs and symptoms typically start within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito, but some types of malaria parasites can lie dormant in your body for up to a year.


Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease, which affects humans and other animals. It is caused by a parasite of the genus “Plasmodium”. The parasites are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.

Mosquito Transmission Cycle:

Malaria has been a major health problem for centuries, and it is still one of the most prevalent diseases in the world. Malaria is caused by a parasite that is transmitted to humans through infected mosquitoes. The parasite then multiplies in the liver and red blood cells, causing symptoms of fever, chills, headache, and vomiting.

Mosquitoes transmit a number of diseases such as malaria, dengue, and Zika. The cycle starts when an infected female mosquito bites a human and injects malaria parasites into the bloodstream.

The parasites travel to the liver where they mature into schizonts (large cells containing many copies of malaria DNA). After about 48 hours in the liver, schizonts rupture releasing merozoites (the infective stage) which invade new red blood cells where they reproduce asexually (mitotic division).

After about 8 hours these daughter cells differentiate into new merozoites. Merozoites may then infect red blood cells elsewhere in the body, such as in the spleen or the bone marrow (where they cause a lysis and release more merozoites), or they may return to the liver where they can reside for weeks without causing disease. If they are not eliminated by hemolysis, (the rupture of red blood cells) or by the liver, the process repeats.

Risk Factors

Malaria is a disease that is caused by parasites and transmitted by mosquitoes. It is a major public health problem in many developing countries, with about 500 million cases per year and as many as 3.3 billion people at risk of malaria infection.

The risk factors of malaria are:

  • Malaria parasites can enter the human body through the bite of an infected mosquito, usually during the night, when people are sleeping.
  • When a person has malaria, they can transmit it to other people through their saliva or blood.
  • People who have malaria may not know they have it because they may not have any symptoms or their symptoms may be so mild that they go unnoticed.
  • People who are unable to sleep in a room with window screens or proper mosquito protection are especially at risk.

Risks of More-Severe Malaria Disease

Malaria is a deadly disease that has historically been a problem in the world. However, with the risks of more-severe malaria disease, it is important to be aware of these risks and take precautions to prevent them.

A study by the World Health Organization found that there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of more-severe malaria disease. These include:

  • Being pregnant can increase the risk of malaria disease, as it puts women at a greater risk from being bitten by mosquitoes. Pregnant women may also be more susceptible to malaria infection because they are already underweight due to the many physical changes and hormonal fluctuations. The parasitic parasite that causes malaria is passed on through female mosquitoes, so pregnant woman are more likely to be bitten.
  • Additionally, malaria is more common in areas where there are many people. This means that the risks of being bitten by an infected mosquito is higher for those living in areas where malaria is prevalent.
  • Lastly, mosquitoes transmit the malaria parasite by biting humans and then injecting saliva into their bloodstreams once they have fed on blood.


The complications from malaria disease are severe and can lead to death. Malaria can cause anemia, seizures, coma, permanent brain damage, and even death.

Complications for malaria disease can be classified as pre-malarial, malarial or post-malarial.

  1. Pre-malarial complications include
    • Fever
    • Chills and
    • Sweating
  2. Malarial complications are related to the severity of the infection and include
  3. Post-malarial complications include
    • Respiratory distress syndrome and
    • Coma

Diagnosis and Tests

Diagnosis for malaria disease is a process that involves the collection of blood samples and examination of blood films. The diagnosis relies on the use of microscopy to identify parasites in the blood sample. Diagnosis for malaria disease can be done with a blood smear test or by examining the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid. There are many different tests for malaria disease, and some of them can be done at home.

The tests for malaria disease include:

  • Blood smear examination
  • Rapid diagnostic test (RDT)
  • Malaria blood test
  • Malaria urine test
  • PCR blood test


There are many different treatments for malaria, and they vary depending on where you live. It can be fatal if not treated promptly. If you are infected with malaria, it can be treated with medication such as:

  • Artemisinin combination therapy (ACT)
  • Chloroquine
  • Primaquine
  • Mefloquine
  • Doxycycline
  • Malarone

Antibiotics are useful in killing the bacteria that cause malaria, so it is highly recommended to take these medicines if you have this disease. Some antibiotics that can be taken include doxycycline, chloramphenicol, and erythromycin.


There are some dietary restrictions for people who have been diagnosed with this disease: It is important to avoid heavy alcohol consumption, which can increase the risk of malaria in those with the disease. The health care provider will provide guidance for this. It is also important for people with malaria to drink plenty of fluids to stay hydrated.

Foods to be taken:

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by parasites. The most common symptoms are fever, shaking chills, and headache. If not treated properly, it can lead to coma and death.

Some foods that you should take for malaria disease include:

  • Carrots: They are rich in beta-carotene that helps the body fight against this infection.
  • Bananas: They are rich in potassium and vitamin C which can help the body get rid of the infection faster and can help reduce the severity of symptoms like muscle cramps and tiredness.
  • Lemons: Drinking lemon juice can help prevent dehydration which is one of the most common complications associated with malaria. This is because it contains citric acid which helps with dehydration.
  • Plums: Plums are surprisingly good for fighting malaria because they are rich in afamelanotoxins. This is because plums contain a small amount of these chemicals which will help your body to fight the malaria.
  • Ginger: Ginger/ Ginger tea is rich in anti-inflammatory properties which can help reduce fever and aches in muscles and joints.

While there are certain foods that can help reduce the risk of contracting malaria, there are also some foods that can increase your risk and severity of infection if you contract it.

Foods to avoid include:


Malaria is a disease caused by the Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.

There are many ways to prevent malaria but some of the most effective methods include:

  • Avoiding mosquito bites
  • Using insect repellent
  • Sleeping under a mosquito net
  • Wearing long sleeves
  • Staying indoors at night
  • Taking antimalarial drugs as prescribed by a health care provider when traveling in an area with malaria risk.

Iodine solution has been found to help prevent malaria by killing off the malaria-carrying mosquitoes.


There are many vaccines in development for malaria. One of them is RTSS-3 (RTSS-M) vaccine that was developed by researchers at the University of Oxford. The vaccine targets a protein in the parasite that is essential for its survival in humans.

The vaccine is made of a protein that is found on the surface of the malaria parasite called MSP1-19 and it has been shown to successfully protect monkeys against both strains of malaria in pre-clinical trials in Africa.


Malaria is caused by the Plasmodium parasite, which can be transmitted from mosquitoes to humans when they bite each other. Malaria can cause fever and life-threatening complications such as organ failure and severe anemia.

The disease is not contagious and cannot be spread directly from person to person. Malaria can be prevented by avoiding mosquito bites, using insect repellent, wearing long sleeves, and staying indoors at night. There are also medications that can prevent malaria.

People should seek medical attention if they develop any symptoms of malaria during their stay in a country where malaria is present.