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Malaria continues to be a major health problem in many parts of the world. Delay in treatment, especially of cases caused by P. falciparum the species of the parasite that is the main cause of the severe forms of the disease – may result in rapid deterioration in the patient’s condition, and in the development of life-threatening complications. Recognizing and promptly treating uncomplicated malaria is therefore of vital importance.
Severe malaria is most commonly caused by infection with Plasmodium falciparum, although P. vivax and P. knowlesi2,3 can also cause severe disease. The risk is increased if treatment of an uncomplicated attack of malaria caused by these parasites is delayed.