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Malaria and the skin (For professionals)

  • Malaria is a common infection caused by a unicellular organism called a Protist. It is transmitted by a mosquito called Anopheles.
  • After a period of between two weeks and several months (occasionally years) spent in the liver, the malaria parasites multiply within red blood cells, causing symptoms that appear cyclically.
  • Symptoms include fever, and headache. In severe cases the disease worsens leading to hallucinations, coma, and death.
  • Treatment is readily available but the best is prevention of insect bites in endemic areas as well as taking antimalarial prophylaxis.



  • Skin involvement is rare and includes:
  1. jaundice
  2. petechiae
  3. vasculitis
  4. purpura and purpura fulminans
  5. gangrene




Purpura fulminans in a patient with malaria. Keri JE, Thomas K, Berman B, Falabella A. Eur J Dermatol. 2000 Dec;10(8):617-9.

Source of information: here