Malaria has a wide spectrum of symptoms. After the bite by the infected mosquito occurs, it can take between seven and 30 days (average is seven to 15 days) before symptoms start (incubation period).
Health care professionals classify malaria as uncomplicated or complicated (severe).
Uncomplicated malaria: The most common symptoms are fever and chills, headaches, nausea and vomiting, and general weakness and body aches.
The classic description of a malaria attack (which is rarely observed), would be a six- to 12-hour period of cold and shivering alternating with fever and headaches and then a stage of sweating and tiredness (sometimes divided into the cold and hot stage).
As these symptoms are very nonspecific, it is important to evaluate if the patient has risk factors for malaria (usual travel in endemic areas).
Complicated or severe malaria This occurs when malaria aff