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Medical Friend in hospital with malaria

  1. Feb 25, 2010 #1


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    I've just received the following statement in an email about a good friend of mine who has been admitted to the local hospital with malaria:


    "Last night <name removed> was taken to the ER and diagnosed with malaria that he contracted during his recent trip to Uganda. ... He's in the ICU now and there have been some noticeable effects of the malaria on his brain. He's disoriented and not responsive. They are beginning [a CAT scan] to see if there is any swelling and how the malaria is affecting his brain. They are beginning a blood exchange transfusion."


    I know his condition is not good, but I'm not sure about his chances. How far along is this? Is he going to be okay? What are his chances?

    I know that no one can say for sure; I guess I'm just looking for some encouragement. I'm pretty upset. Is there anything reassuring about the above report?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 25, 2010 #2
    I was once treated by a nurse at a little clinic here who was a malaria survivor. She contracted it during the first Gulf War. That tells me it's survivable. You'll just have to google for more info on the prognosis, though.
  4. Feb 26, 2010 #3


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    This is from an update email:

    "...He has a condition called toxic metabolic enephalitis, not uncommon with severe infections, which impairs his mental ability. ... [He] has a strong immune system, and he is fighting the parasites. This has overloaded his kidney with toxic blood cells, and so the doctors are helping him through dialysis, which began yesterday afternoon. ...

    One way some malaria patients are treated is by an exchange transfusion, in which all of their blood is replaced. [His] doctors are considering such a transfusion. Right now that is not an option because this procedure can not be performed in <location removed> and [he] is not currently in a condition to transport.

    [He] is having trouble breathing. During the night, changes were made to his treatment to help him breathe. ..."

    I found the following on http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/background-malaria" [Broken] site:

    I am going to attempt a visit tonight after work. Unfortunately, as the treatments get more complicated, visiting opportunities become less frequent.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  5. Feb 26, 2010 #4


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    Hi Dembadon, I'm sorry to hear about your friend. I can't answer any of your question, I hope that you can get some answers from the nursing staff when you visit the hospital later today.
  6. Feb 26, 2010 #5
    Sorry to read of your friend's condition, Dembadon.

    At least they diagnosed the condition.
    There are apparently several forms of malaria.
    I have a friend who had an 'illness' after a spell of work in Nigeria.
    It took 6 months to get a diagnosis and he nearly died - it was a very rare form.
    Strangely The London School of Tropical Medicine missed it and it was left to our local District General Hospital to crack it. Luckily a specialist here had seen this aprticular variety before.
  7. Feb 26, 2010 #6


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    I understand. Thanks Monique. :smile: I am looking forward to answers as well.

    It is good that he survived. I am also a bit concerned about the personnel at the hospital in which he is currently undergoing treatment. I hope that we are lucky as was your friend. Thank you for your concern. :smile:
  8. Feb 26, 2010 #7


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    Best wishes and good luck to your friend, Dembadon. My father-in-law picked up malaria in SE Asia in WWII and never got over it. He died of complications of diabetes, but the malaria made his life miserable.
  9. Feb 26, 2010 #8
    The good part is that he was properly diagnosed. Its often not easy to discover malaria, until well past the primary attack. Its when the symptoms show them selfs at regular intervals of 48-72 hours, that it becomes apparent.
    Treatment options are very standard, based on the geographic area where the infection was acquired, and the severity of the disease.
    I hope your friend does well.
  10. Feb 27, 2010 #9
    Hi Dembadon,

    I read your post, and it reminded me of an article, which of course, I cannot find, that talked about how people with malaria were able to get up and walk about, completely cured, in a matter of hours after treatment with an herb. So, I did a search. There's plenty of evidence favoring this treatment, and I'm sure if you look around, you'll find some of it.

    Just to give you a bit of a start, here's an old article from BBC News:

    And, here's a newer article from New Scientist:

    I suggest you check www.pubmed.com for related research, if you haven't already.

    I hope everything turns out for the best.

    Best of Luck

    Mentor's note: The active compound of the herb has been isolated and is present in drugs (such as Artemisinin), so always check with a doctor. An article in the journal Science, this January: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/327/5963/279
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 28, 2010
  11. Feb 28, 2010 #10


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    I hope your friend continues to recover, Dembadon. It sounds like a pretty advanced case by the time he received treatment, and indeed, he sounds lucky to have survived.

    Survivability all depends on the stage when it is detected and how quickly it is treated. One of my African colleagues told me of a friend of his who died upon returning to the US because the hospitals in the area where she was living at the time didn't have anti-malarial drugs and it took too long for them to be shipped.

    Usually the symptoms show up within 2 weeks of the mosquito bite that infects the person (when taking anti-malarial medications for traveling, they are to be continued past leaving the malaria region to protect against any bites that might happen even on the last day of visit). However, sometimes the infection can be slower and symptoms can appear much later (this is when it's even more dangerous, because it's not necessarily recognized as possible malaria so long after the travel date). I know, for example, that I'm not allowed to donate blood for a full year after my travel to Africa, and that's because of the malaria risk.

    The reason for the blood replacement transfusion is that the malaria parasite infects red blood cells, so in a severe infection, the tranfusion helps reduce the parasite load by physically removing them.

    The actual medications used to treat the malaria will depend on where the malaria is contracted, because there are geographical variations in drug resistance. The good news is that malaria in much of Africa is still able to be treated with most of the available drugs, which gives a lot more options. South American malaria parasites have a lot more drug resistance, which really limits choices of anti-malarials.

    For anyone who travels to a malaria-endemic region, ANY flu-like symptoms developing within a month or two after travel should be considered a possible sign of malaria and evaluated by a physician, because it's much easier to treat early than when it gets to that more advanced infection affecting the brain.
  12. Mar 10, 2010 #11
    Best wishes to your friend. And I'm sure if you have some faith in him, things will turn out better. =]
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