Summary

  • Malaria is a widely distributed tropical infection caused by vector-borne parasites of the genus Plasmodium.
  • In Western countries, almost all malaria occurs in travelers; therefore, the diagnosis may be missed if a history of travel is not elicited.
  • Patients typically present with nonspecific symptoms such as fever, chills, sweats, headache, and myalgia.
  • Examination of a Giemsa-stained blood film remains the diagnostic test of choice.
  • Once the diagnosis of malaria is confirmed, treatment should be started urgently, as a delay may be associated with disease progression and complications.
  • Management should be undertaken in conjunction with an infectious diseases specialist.

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