Kolkata sees cases of malaria without fever; a doctor talks about the ‘weird’ disease

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As some parts of the country struggle with dengue-like fever, Kolkata is recording cases of a peculiar type of malaria with no fever.

Patients are showing other severe symptoms. “Yes, that is true. People are coming not with fever, chill and rigor, which is the predominant symptom of malaria. Yesterday, a patient with not much history of fever — there was only mild fever for a single day — was admitted after she came malaria falciparum positive. This has not been seen before…it is weird,” Dr Dibyendu Mukherjee, consultant, internal medicine, Fortis Anandapur, tells indianexpress.com.

Among the symptoms that patients are coming with are “severe weakness, giddiness, history of fall because of sudden drop in blood pressure, and palpitation.” “At our hospital, we are roughly getting about three-four patients of malaria admitted every day,” the doctor adds.

“This time, we are getting more cases of falciparum malaria (caused by the parasite plasmodium falciparum). We have been seeing a lot of mosquito-borne diseases, specially dengue and malaria, in the last two or three weeks after the rains,” he shares. “We are seeing cases where even after giving a full dose of artesunate injection (recommended treatment), the entire parasite clearance is being achieved. Not only the patients, the doctors also have to be careful about how to approach.”

Talking about the cause behind feverless malaria, the doctor says, “Truly speaking, we do not have a clue why this is happening. ” Addressing whether “mutation” could be the reason, he adds, “Mutation is a word we are using rather loosely here. That is because we don’t get a lot of mutation in parasites; we get them in virus. My speculation is that such atypical representation of malaria could be because of how Covid has affected our bodies. That said, we have to wait for researchers to determine the cause.”

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