Infections

Expert reports about Infections


INFORMATION FOR WOMEN WHO HAVE MALARIA WHILE PREGNANT OR BREASTFEEDING

 

What is malaria and how does it differ from sickle cell disease?

Malaria is an infectious disease resulting from a parasite called Plasmodium that can infect red blood cells, the liver, and other parts of the body, including the placenta. There are several species of Plasmodium that cause malaria in humans and all of them are carried to humans by a type of mosquito called Anopheles. Because Anopheles lives only in certain ranges of temperature, and because of public health measures that have been carried out since the early 20th century, people contract malaria today mostly in tropical areas. However, because of frequent intercontinental travel, the disease can occur anywhere, even in a cold, western city in the middle of winter. Malaria presents itself with severe fever and chills, along with sweating, fatigue, headache, muscle pains, and nausea and vomiting. It also causes anemia –low number of red blood cells– which, if severe, can lead to heart failure.


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