Lighting Learning: Malaria
Infection with one of five Plasmodium species: falciparum, vivax, ovale, malariae, knowlesi
Initial symptoms are nonspecific:
Respiratory distress or ARDS
Coagulopathy +/- DIC
Severe anemia or massive intravascular haemolysis
High parasite count
Malaria should be considered in any febrile or unwell patient who has visited endemic areas.
Most cases present within 3 months of return, but it can be longer.
Remember to ask a travel history that extends at least this far back!
Mortality (in the UK) is roughly 1%. A delay in recognition and treatment increases mortality and complications.
It is also important to consider other infections in anyone who has travelled and consider isolation until the diagnosis is confirmed.