What is Cerebral Malaria? Know its Symptoms, Causes and Remedies
Cerebral Malaria is the most dangerous and deadly form of malarial fever that affects the brain. If malaria parasites reach the brain, they prove to be very fatal. This condition is called cerebral malaria or meningitis. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), there are five types of malaria parasites. The most deadly of these is falciparum malaria. If this parasite reaches the brain through blood circulation, then it can have fatal consequences. It is the most serious neurological complication caused by Plasmodium falciparum (a protozoan parasite). Plasmodium is transmitted to the human body through the bite of an infected mosquito. Patients suffering from this have neurological (nervous system), memory loss and behavioral difficulties. Apart from this, cerebral malaria is one of the main causes of neurological disability and epilepsy in children. However, it is not yet known how the parasite of blood vessels becomes lethal to the brain. Falciparum malaria is a leading cause of neuro-disability and death in tropical countries. Many children around the world are affected by it.
In cerebral malaria, fluid leaks from the brain of the infected person and the person slips into coma. It infects more than 575,000 people every year out of which 20 percent of people die and 80 percent of the survivors develop long-term neurodevelopmental symptoms including seizures and mental disorders. It affects young children more.
Symptoms of Cerebral Malaria
The symptoms of cerebral malaria are few that are common in both children and adults, such as-
- Loss of consciousness.
- Impulse and neurological abnormalities.
- Coma (which can last up to three days)
- Persistent orthostatic hypotension freezing.
- Muscle pain.
- Low blood pressure.
- Mild jaundice.
- Enlargement of liver and spleen.
- Kidney damage.
- Blood in urine.
- Increase in intracranial pressure.
- Confusion and seizures.
- Increase in respiratory rate.
The symptoms usually occur in three stages:
It can last for 1-2 hours.
It is characterized by headache, vomiting and seizures in young children and high fever up to 107°F. It can last for 3-4 hours.
It causes sweating and fatigue. This phase can last for 2-4 hours.
Causes of Cerebral Malaria
Malaria is caused by a type of parasite which is called plasmodium. There are several types of plasmodium parasites but only five of these parasites cause malaria in humans. Plasmodium parasites are mainly transmitted by female Anopheles mosquitoes. They bite mainly at dusk and at night. When an infected mosquito bites a human, it spreads the parasite into the bloodstream and as soon as it reaches the brain, the person becomes a victim of cerebral malaria.
Measures to Prevent Cerebral Malaria
- Use a mosquito net while sleeping.
- Do not use mosquito repellent coils in a closed room.
- Do not allow water to accumulate in the house.
- If there is standing water somewhere around, then spread it or put oil in it so that mosquitoes do not breed in it.
- Consult a doctor if there is even a slight fever.
Treatment of Cerebral malaria
There are many medicines available in the market for Cerebral Malaria but do not take any medicine without the doctor's advice because taking medicine without the advice of a doctor can cause serious harm to health.