Can you make the diagnosis?

Mariah just returned from a trip of a lifetime.  For her 30th birthday, she went with her college friend for a wildlife safari in Africa.

Now it is two weeks later, and she begins to have severe chills.  She wraps up in blankets on the couch, but then begins to feel very hot and becomes sweaty.   She feels very weak and decides to go to bed early.

That night, she awakes with nausea, and begins to vomit.  The vomiting continues throughout the night.

The next morning when she looks in the bathroom mirror, she thinks her skin looks yellow.

What does  Mariah have?

  1.  The flu
  2. Hepatitis
  3. Food poisoning
  4. Malaria

 

 

If you guessed 4.  Malaria, you are correct!

Malaria is caused by a parasite and transmitted by infected mosquitoes.  People with malaria become very sick, and typically have fever, chills and sweating episodes that can occur in cycles  Every year, over 400,000 people die world-wide from malaria.  Malaria is widespread in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.  Malaria is diagnosed by a blood test, and can be treated successfully with medication.

Malaria can cause flu-like symptoms initially, so that is a good guess.  Hepatitis can cause fever, chills and skin yellowing (jaundice), but in this case the clue was that Mariah had traveled to Africa where malaria is often contracted.  Food poisoning often causes vomiting and diarrhea, but it would be unusual to have jaundice from food poisoning.

malaria.jpeg

 

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