Severe Malaria is defined as severe manifestation of malaria that may contribute to major organ dysfunction or failure (e.g. coma, renal failure or pulmonary edema) or even death if treatment is not proper or urgent. Severe malaria is mainly caused by Plasmodium falciparum but not all cases of P. falciparum are severe. The treatment of this condition requires hospitalization and specialist care.
In case of P. falciparum infection the symptoms usually begin 10 to 35 days after mosquito injects theparasite. Initial “prodromal” symptoms are followed by the paroxysms. Unlike other forms of malariathe paroxysms are not regular and patients often do have fever between the paroxysms. Theparasite load is high in falciparum infection because this type can infect red blood cells of any age. This is one of the reasons for severity of malaria caused by P. falciparum. The most important and potentially fatal complication is cerebral malaria that occurs commonly in infants, pregnant women and non-immune travelers to high-risk areas. Untreated P. falciparum malaria is fatal in about 20% of people and prompt and adequate treatment is required to prevent fatalities.