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COVID-19 and Malaria: Uncovering the Ties

COVID-19 and Malaria: Uncovering the Ties

Since the pandemic began, COVID-19 has been linked to malaria and is widely believed to go hand in hand. This is because in many cases, COVID-19 and malaria exhibit similar symptoms. Some of these symptoms include fever, fatigue, and headache. These similarities make it possible for misdiagnosis.

One condition may be confused for the other, especially when no test is carried out and the doctor makes a diagnosis solely based on symptoms. However, these diseases have different causes and are transmitted in different ways.


While these two conditions may have some common symptoms, differences distinguish them from each other. These differences include;

  1. Malaria is caused by anopheles mosquito, while COVID-19 is caused by a virus transmitted through respiratory droplets inhaled through the nose or mouth.
  2. Malaria symptoms take about 10-15 days to appear, while those of COVID-19 can appear as early as two days after infection or as late as 15 days.
  3. Malaria usually does not cause respiratory difficulties, but one of COVID-19’s most prominent symptoms is breathing difficulties. 
  4. Coronavirus is usually accompanied by a loss of one’s sense of smell and taste, while malaria does not affect one’s ability to taste and smell.
  5. Malaria is not contagious. It cannot be passed from one person to another. COVID-19, on the other hand, is very communicable and can easily be gotten from an infected person.
Caused by Anopheles Mosquito Caused by a transmittable corona virus
Symptoms take 10 –15 days to appear Appears in as early as 2 days or as late 15 days
Does not cause respiratory difficulties Causes breathing difficulties
Symptoms do not include loss of sense of smell and taste Symptoms include loss of sense of smell and taste
Not contagious Easily contagious

Although fever is a symptom shared by COVID-19 and malaria, there is a significant difference between the fevers brought on by the two diseases. Malaria fevers are often cyclical. This means that it reoccurs at predictable times, depending on the strain of malaria. COVID-19 fever, however, does not seem to occur in predictable cycles.

In the earlier stages of the pandemic, chloroquine, a popular malaria drug, was rumoured to be an effective treatment for coronavirus infection. This rumour probably contributed to the public’s association of COVID-19 with malaria. However, research and studies have since shown no evidence that the drug is effective against COVID. 

Unlike malaria, Coronavirus does not have a definite cure yet. Precautionary measures are the best way to keep safe. Wash your hands regularly with soap and water, practice social distancing and avoid crowded places. Always wear a face mask and keep surfaces around you clean and disinfected. Avoid touching your nose, eyes and mouth with your hands to prevent germs from getting into your body.

As COVID-19 takes the world’s attention and continues to make the headlines, it is important to also keep in mind the devastating effects of malaria as well and take measures to protect yourself. Clear overgrown bushes in your immediate environment. Use well-treated mosquito nets and insecticides in your home, and get rid of stagnant water in your environment that may serve as breeding sites for mosquitoes.

If you experience similar symptoms to COVID-19 or malaria, please book an appointment on Doctall to speak with a doctor today.

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