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malaria course of disease

malaria course of disease According to the species of plasmodia, the incubation period varies between 7 and 24 days. Malaria starts with fever and flu-like symptoms, as tiredness,
headache and rheumatic pains. Additionally, abdominal
symptoms, like nausea, vomiting or diarrhea, can
appear. The further course of the infection is characterized
by recurrent fever attacks ( fever attacks
in malaria). During the fever-free intervals, plasmodia
reproduce asexually; their release into the circulatory
system leads to the next rise of temperature. Due to the destruction of red blood cells, anemia develops and there is a low platelet count (thrombocytopenia).
The increased capture of erythrocytes in the spleen
leads to an enlargement of the organ (splenomegaly).
An affection of the kidneys and the liver may also be
possible; frequently, there is a mild jaundice (icterus).
Clumping of erythrocytes can impair blood circulation.
The latter is extremely serious if the blood vessels
of the brain are affected; in this case, cerebral
malaria results, which leads to reduced consciousness,
cerebral seizures, coma or even death. Malaria during
pregnancy is dangerous as it often takes a more
severe course than in nonpregnant women. Besides the
transmission to the unborn child, possible complications
are miscarriage, preterm birth and intrauterine
growth retardation. A rare infection is blackwater fever
(Plasmodium falciparum) in which hemolysis (destruction
of the red blood cells) and acute renal failure occurs, causing high lethality. The name of the disease is derived from the urine, which is dark colored, nearly black.

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