Plasmodium falciparum Malaria is the leading cause of body damage, hospitalisation and even death in children. Since several theories exist to explain the complications of malaria that result in high mortality rates. This article discusses the neurological complication of malaria, its clinical indicators, and whether such a severe complication can be survived.
Can malaria permanently damage the body?
Yes, malaria can be fatal in some cases. Malaria infection has a profound effect on the body, with long-term health consequences ranging from increased susceptibility to bacterial infection to cognitive impairment. Healthy patients can control their infection because they develop immunity to the parasite. Whereas the people who have been exposed are unable to rid themselves of the condition. This has an effect on treatment since they no longer develop a fever. The resulting chronic yet silent infection not only contributes to the perpetuation of malaria transmission but also to serious health and developmental impairments over time.
According to the World Health Organization, severe malaria infections may result in acute organ failures, abnormal cell counts, and metabolic abnormalities. The most severe neurological complication of malaria infection is cerebral malaria (CM). Children in Sub-Saharan Africa are the most affected, and those who survive frequently have life-long disorders that can have a significant impact on their quality of life. These primarily include impairments in cognition, motor skills, and visual coordination, as well as seizures and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.
What are the main clinical indicators of cerebral malaria?
Malaria is the leading cause of death in endemic areas, accounting for 80% of fatal cases. Cerebral malaria is a condition in which the patient is not able to respond to a painful stimulus, and neurological complications affect 50% of children admitted to the hospital. Typically, the first symptoms appear 10 to 15 days after the bite. High fever, muscle aches, headaches, sweating, and other flu symptoms are among the symptoms. In children and immunocompromised patients, the first signs may appear within the first six to twelve hours. Such patients may show symptoms like nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, an increased heart rate, arthralgias, and liver or spleen damage. Neurological alterations in the brain can cause seizures, ocular manifestations, and even coma.
Is it possible to recover from cerebral malaria?
The mortality rate for cerebral malaria is high. Three independent factors can lead to this increased mortality. These factors include advanced age, coma, and the extent of parasitic infestation. The treatment of complications such as renal failure, severe jaundice, and metabolic acidosis has a significant impact on the prognosis of CM.
It is worth noting that 90% of CM patients recover without neurological complications. Children suffer from more severe side effects than adults. Transient neurological symptoms usually go away in 4-8 weeks.
Disclaimer: Medical Science is an ever evolving field. We strive to keep this page updated. In case you notice any discrepancy in the content, please inform us at [email protected]. You can futher read our Correction Policy here. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website or it's social media channels. Read our Full Disclaimer Here for further information.