Falciparum Malaria

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jan 19, 2013

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Falciparum malaria, commonly referred to as cerebral malaria is the most dangerous and life threatening form of malaria. As the name suggests it is caused by falciparum, a protozoa of plasmodium (P.) genus. According to an estimate by the World Health Organization (WHO), falciparum malaria affects more than 300-500 million people annually. The people who are living in malaria epidemic areas and children below 10 years of age are more vulnerable to cerebral malaria.

It is essential to start treatment as soon as possible since delay can result in fatal outcomes. When not treated timely it proves to be life threatening in about 20% of the patients and can cause conditions such as haemoglobinuria, jaundice, and tender or enlarged spleen to name a few. Falciparum malaria turns fatal within 24 to 72 hours of its onset. The common symptoms of cerebral malaria include:

  • Non-specific fever with impaired consciousness.
  • Generalised convulsions.
  • Neurological abnormalities.
  • Coma (reported in some of the cases).

P. Falciparum is transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes. This species of plasmodium leads to chills, headache, persistent high fever, capillary blockage, orthostatic hypotension and muscle pain.  The other categorising symptoms of falciparum malaria are mutation in mental status and even coma in some of the cases. Ring like lesions are formed in the brain of a cerebral malaria patient. A distinguishing symptom of cerebral malaria is retinal whitening.

According to WHO, cerebral malaria has the highest mortality ratio than the other types of malaria. Every year it causes over a million deaths. Till now there is no specific treatment for cerebral malaria so the best way to prevent it is to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes.


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  • Susan Goggans05 Sep 2012

    I recently contracted malaria falciparum and typhoid fever in Ghana. This has been documented by blood both in the US and in Ghana multiple times. At onset, the distinguishing characteristic was that I had absolutely no fever with both but that I did become very bloated, profuse sweating, hyperventilation, altered mental status, inability to walk, vomiting only resolved by anti-malarials. I went back to work 2 days layer. I'm still having symptoms, a mo after return, but cleared by blood.

  • akchatterjee17 Jun 2012

    My son was infected with falcipuram malaria and died.recently.he was in accra ghana.it is suspected that5 he was infected there. we want to know is it possible that we will also be infected? what precaution we should take?

  • Kshitij13 May 2012

    Despite of taking atmost care and precautions I have had three episodes of falciparum malaria in the span of last 5 years. I need help from someone who could tell me how can i avoid this recurrences...?? I am on the hospital bed being treated for falciparum, while i write this comment.. PLEASE HELP..!!!!

  • Gypsy30 Oct 2011

    I am currently recovering from malaria falciparum in South Sudan. I just wanted readers to be aware that in my case the early symptoms were quite mild; a headache and a slight shortness of breath. No fever, muscle pain or chills until the evening of the fourth day, by which time the number of parasites in my system was diagnosed as extremely severe and I might have died anytime. So if you live in a malaria area, there's no harm getting checked early and often even if you feel just a little off!

  • Parth07 Aug 2011

    I'd malaria falciparum, i take treatment of malaria using artether injection but its contain arachis oil which gives too much pain so please make watery injection