In general, whenever we talk about dengue fever or malaria fever, we generalise them and think of them as one disease or similar to each other. Their symptoms may appear similar, but the fever pattern is different in both of them.
Difference Between Dengue Fever and Malaria Fever
The mosquito vector in dengue is Aedes and, in malaria, it is Anopheles. Malaria fever is caused by the parasite named ‘plasmodium’ whereas dengue fever is a viral infection. Malaria can be chronic while dengue cannot.
Symptoms of malaria typically occur in three stages namely, cold stage, hot stage and sweating stage wherein sudden coldness is followed by fever and sweating.
Dengue fever symptoms appear in 3–14 days (average 4–7 days) after the infective bite. Malaria fever symptoms can develop as quickly as 7 days after you’re bitten by an infected mosquito.
Symptoms Of Dengue Fever and Malaria Fever
Dengue fever symptoms start with the sudden onset of fever that may tentatively last about seven days. The fever can go as high as 106℉ accompanied by headaches and muscle or bone pain. The fever may vanish and then appears repeatedly alongwith skin rashes.
Other dengue symptoms in children are:
- pain behind the eyes
- loss of appetite
- mild bleeding from nose and gums
- pain in the eyes
- rashes on upper and lower limbs.
Unlike dengue, the fever is of shorter duration in malaria.
The other symptoms of malaria are:
- joint pain
Treatment Of Dengue and Malaria
There are antimalarial drugs available for treating malaria; on the contrary, there is no drug available for the treatment of dengue. Dengue is treated with supportive measures such as blood transfusion and replenishing fluids.
Although, the world’s first vaccine for dengue has been invented still there are high risks involved. In 2016, Philippines launched the world’s first public dengue vaccine program with the dengue vaccine Dengvaxia. Over 800,000 children have already been vaccinated.
In December 2017, the pharmaceutical company responsible for bringing out the vaccine warned that this vaccination in children who had not previously been infected by the dengue virus can lead to serious health risks. As a result, the Philippine Ministry of Health stopped the mass vaccination program for now.
Jonas Schmidt-Chanasit from the Bernhard-Nocht-Institut for Tropical Diseases states that the vaccine itself has no side effects. That means after the injection, nothing bad happens. However, if you vaccinate children who have not previously had dengue fever infections, severe hemorrhagic dengue fever can occur.
Prevention of Dengue and Malaria
Even though it’s not possible to stay 100% protected from mosquito bites, but prevention is better than cure.
- Use mosquito mesh, screens on doors and windows.
- Use insect repellents in the house. For kids, use a mild repellent in the form of patches, roll-ons, sprays, lotions and gels. I put Goodknight fabric roll-on and patches on my kids’ clothes even when they are indoors.
- Make your kids wear long-sleeved shirts and long bottoms when they go outside.
- Avoid letting your kids stay outdoors during dawn or dusk when the mosquitos are most active.
- Don’t let the water collect in the planters and water bowls for birds to avoid breeding of mosquitos.
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