Malaria symptoms: rashes

Updated July 19, 2017

Malaria is a contagious disease transmitted by mosquitoes. It is most common in tropical countries with temperate climates. It is considered as one of the leading deadly diseases in the world. According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, over 1 million people die of malaria annually, and most of them are young children, pregnant women and infants.

Rashes and Other Symptoms

Rashes are not generally a symptom of malaria, but they may appear in some cases, such as in acute falciparum malaria. A classical urticaria (dark red, itchy bumps) or itchy papular rash (round bumps usually 0.5 inches in diameter) may appear.

Chills, high fever and muscle pain generally characterise malaria. Other symptoms include vomiting, headache, diarrhoea and nausea. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the symptoms of malaria resemble flu-like symptoms such as tiredness and jaundice. If not treated immediately, it can lead to seizures, mental confusion, kidney failure, comatose and death.


Malaria is caused mainly by a parasite named plasmodium. Although there are 170 species of plasmodium, only four of them affect humans. P. falciparum is the most common and deadly of all the variations; it may develop within five to 12 days. P. vivax has an incubation period of eight to 13 days that may result to a rupture of the spleen. P. malariae is incubated within two to four weeks; if not given medical attention, it may last for years. P. ovale has an incubation period of eight to 17 days.


The Mayo Clinic reports that a person from a malaria-endemic place is prohibited from donating blood because of the possibility of transmitting malaria through blood transfusion. He should wait one year after a short visit to donate blood or three years if he was a resident of a malaria-endemic area.

Risk Factors

Infants, young children and pregnant women are vulnerable to malaria. Travellers are also at high risk of acquiring this disease. Residents of a place where malaria is common may also be in serious danger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, malaria is commonly transmitted in Africa, Asia, South Pacific, Eastern Europe, Central America and South America.


According to, malaria can be avoided with increased awareness of the disease. Avoiding mosquito bites by using a repellent cream or staying away from malaria-endemic places, and taking preventive medicines against malaria can be a big help. Medications for malaria treatment include quinine sulphate, hydroxychloroquine, chloroquine, combination of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine, combination of atovaquone and proguanil, mefloquine, doxycycline, artemisinin-derived medications, primaquine and halofantrine.

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About the Author

Lita McLeary started writing professionally for the "Philippine Inquirer" in 1989, a daily national newspaper. She has written for private online clients for over seven years. At present, she writes full-time for various websites. McLeary holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in liberal arts from the University of the Philippines.