Symptoms of Cerebral Malaria

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Aug 27, 2018
Quick Bites

  • Early symptoms are fever and impaired consciousness.
  • Persistent orthostatic hypotension chills is another characteristic.
  • The symptoms occur in three stages - cold, hot and sweat stage.
  • The signs of cerebral malaria may become fatal within a few days.

Cerebral malaria is the most severe neurological complication caused by plasmodium falciparum, a protozoan parasite. Plasmodium gets transmitted to human via infected mosquito bites. Cerebral malaria is the most dangerous and life-threatening form of malaria that affects the brain and causes mutation.

 Also read: Causes of Malaria.

Symptoms of Cerebral malaria

Initially, only few symptoms of cerebral malaria show up in both children and adults. These include:

  • non-specific fever
  • impaired consciousness
  • convulsion and neurological abnormalities
  • coma that may last for three days at a stretch.


The main symptoms of cerebral malaria include:

  • persistent orthostatic hypotension chills
  • headache
  • muscle pain
  • low blood pressure
  • altered state of consciousness.
Also read: Types of Malaria.

In cerebral malaria, attacks may occur every second day and may last for 6-10 hours. The symptoms usually occur in three stages:

  • Cold Stage: sensations of cold and extreme shivering. This may last for 1-2 hours.
  • Hot Stage: It is characterised by headaches, vomiting, seizures in young children and high fever i.e. up to 107°F. This may last for 3-4 hours.
  • Sweating Stage: It is characterised by profuse sweating and tiredness. This stage may last for 2-4 hours.


Common signs of cerebral malaria include:

  • mild jaundice
  • anemia
  • enlargement of liver and spleen
  • kidney failure
  • blood in urine
  • rise in intracranial pressure
  • delirium and seizures
  • increased respiratory rate


The signs of cerebral malaria may become fatal within a few days. Since the natural resistance of immune system is not helpful, one must immediately go for artificial treatments.

Read more articles on Malaria.

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