Malaria makes relapsing fever more serious

May 08, 2009

Malaria and the Borrelia infection relapsing fever are diseases with similar symptoms that can occur simultaneously. In such cases, the malaria is moderated while the relapsing fever becomes more serious. This is shown in a new doctoral dissertation by Jenny Lundqvist at Umeľ University in Sweden.

Malaria is a common disease in tropical Africa, causing between 1.5 and 2.7 million deaths each year. As a rule, only the clinical symptoms are used for quick diagnosis in order to prescribe the proper treatment. However, this type of presumptive diagnosis is problematic, as there are other diseases that have the same symptoms, such as relapsing fever (an infection caused by bacteria of the Borrelia genus).

How the patient is affect by this was previously unknown, and, to study the phenomenon, an animal model was created for this type of double infection. It turned out that when both diseases occur at the same time the is much milder whereas the Borrelia infection in turn is more serious, indeed, fatal.

This is because the immune defense focuses on the malaria infection, which means that the relapsing fever can grow unhampered. Mice with double infection develop severe anemia and serious internal damage, above all in the spleen, which is important for the immune defense. Malaria can also revive a dormant Borrelia in the brain and cause the relapsing fever to flare up anew.

This new knowledge about double infection by malaria and relapsing fever will be important for the diagnosis and treatment of both diseases, especially in Africa.

Provided by Swedish Research Council (news : web)

Explore further: Success short treatment against drug-resistant tuberculosis confirmed

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Supplementary approach to malaria

Feb 05, 2008

Could a simple vitamin A and zinc supplement help protect young children from malaria? A randomized double blind trial reported in the open access publication, Nutrition Journal, would suggest the answer is yes.

Yellow fever outbreak reported in Paraguay

Feb 25, 2008

Health officials reported an outbreak of yellow fever in Paraguay, with seven confirmed cases in San Pedro and four as yet unconfirmed cases in San Lorenzo.

How to treat fevers in African children up for debate

Jan 06, 2009

A new debate in the open access journal PLoS Medicine questions whether all African children with fever should be treated presumptively with antimalarial drugs, or if treatment should wait until laboratory tests confirm malari ...

How adhesive protein causes malaria

Sep 25, 2007

Researchers at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet (KI) and the Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control (SMI) have identified the biochemical mechanism behind the adhesive protein that give rise ...

Recommended for you

Poll: Many doubt hospitals can handle Ebola

3 hours ago

A new poll finds most Americans have some confidence that the U.S. health care system will prevent Ebola from spreading in this country, but they're not so sure their local hospital can safely handle a patient.

Number of Ebola cases nears 10,000

3 hours ago

The number of people with Ebola is set to hit 10,000 in West Africa, the World Health Organization said, as the scramble to find a cure gathered pace.

'Breath test' shows promise for diagnosing fungal pneumonia

4 hours ago

Many different microbes can cause pneumonia, and treatment may be delayed or off target if doctors cannot tell which bug is the culprit. A novel approach—analyzing a patient's breath for key chemical compounds made by the ...

Where Ebola battles are won

13 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Four hospitals that are home to advanced biocontainment facilities have become America's ground zero in the treatment of Ebola patients.

User comments : 0