Malaria: Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Malaria is a serious public health threat that affects more than 200 million people around the world every year.

What is Malaria?

It is a terrible mosquito-borne infectious disease that manifests as high fever along with chills and sweating. It needs to be treated promptly, or it can prove to be fatal. A majority of the cases occur around the equator in tropical and subtropical regions, and it is a particularly dangerous disease in Africa. In fact, visitors to South American, African, Asian and Caribbean countries are strongly urged or even required to take anti-malarial medication before coming to the country, to prevent infection.


The disease is transferred through the Anopheles mosquito’s saliva when it bites you after it has been infected by various types of parasitic microorganisms. The parasites that affect humans are Plasmodium vivaxP. ovaleP. malariae, and P. falciparumThose parasites migrate to the liver and begin to reproduce, which is when the symptoms begin, about 10-15 days after the initial bite.

A picture showing normal and infected red blood cells during malaria

Other causes of malaria include:

  • An infected mother to her baby at birth (congenital malaria)
  • Organ transplant
  • Blood transfusion
  • Use of shared needles or syringes


Symptoms of malaria occurring when the infection comes from Plasmodium falciparum include:

This can often result in respiratory distress (25-40% of cases), encephalopathy, low blood sugar, shock, spontaneous bleeding, and even death. The remaining four species of Plasmodium capable of infecting humans generally cause mild symptoms of the illness. Protection Status
About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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