Malaria symptoms

Tanzanian boy of about three years
Patient with Malaria in Tanzanian Hospital on African Malaria Day. © UNICEF/GIACOMO PIROZZI

After infection, malaria parasites reproduce in the liver for a few days. Symptoms only arise when the parasites leave the liver and enter the blood stream. In the case of malaria caused by P. falciparum, symptoms usually appear about 9 to 14 days after the mosquito bites. Symptoms include waves of fever, chills, joint pain, and vomiting.

In the blood stream, the parasites infect red blood cells. They reproduce until the red blood cells explode. This causes additional symptoms of anemia, blood clots, and an enlarged spleen.