Life-threatening complications can develop with a
malaria infection, especially when a person is
infected by the malaria-causing parasite Plasmodium (P.) falciparum.
When the parasite infects red blood cells, the cells stick to the
walls of blood vessels. As the blood vessels become blocked, blood supply to
vital organs stops, and the person may die without treatment.
Life-threatening situations because of malaria infection with
P. falciparum may include:
Severe infection of the brain (cerebral malaria),
with seizures, confusion, and increasing tiredness leading to coma and
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerW. David Colby IV, MSc, MD, FRCPC - Infectious Disease