When symptoms appear
Malaria can begin with flu-like symptoms. In the early stages, infection
from P. falciparum is similar to infection from
P. vivax, P. malariae, and
P. ovale. You may have no symptoms or symptoms that are
less severe if you are partially immune to malaria.
The time from the initial
malaria infection until symptoms appear (incubation
period) typically ranges from:2
- 9 to 14 days for Plasmodium (P.) falciparum.
- 12 to 18 days for P. vivax and P. ovale.
- 18 to 40 days for
- 11 to 12 days for
Symptoms can appear in 7 days. And the time
between exposure and signs of illness may sometimes be as long as 8 to 10 months with
P. vivax and P. ovale.
The incubation period may be longer if you are taking medicine to prevent
infection (chemoprophylaxis) or because you have some
immunity due to previous infections.
Variation in symptoms
In regions where malaria is present, people who get infected many times may have the disease but have few or no symptoms.3 Also, how bad malaria symptoms are can vary depending on your general health,
what kind of malaria parasite you have, and whether you still have your
Common symptoms of malaria
In the early stages, malaria symptoms are sometimes similar to those of
many other infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or parasites. Symptoms may
Symptoms may appear in cycles. The time between episodes of
fever and other symptoms varies with the specific parasite you are infected
with. Episodes of symptoms may occur:
- Every 48 hours if you are infected with
P. vivax or P. ovale.
- Every 72 hours if you are infected with
P. falciparum does not usually cause a regular, cyclic fever.
The cyclic pattern of malaria symptoms is due to the
life cycle of malaria parasites as they develop, reproduce, and are released from
the red blood cells and liver cells in the human body. This cycle of symptoms
is also one of the major signs that you are infected with malaria.
Other common symptoms of malaria
symptoms of malaria include:
- Dry (nonproductive) cough.
or back pain or both.
In rare cases, malaria can lead to impaired function of
the brain or spinal cord, seizures, or loss of consciousness.
Infection with the P. falciparum parasite is
usually more serious and may become
other conditions with symptoms similar to a malaria
infection. It is important that you see your doctor to find out the cause of