Differences between Malaria and Dengue

Exploring the Differences between Malaria and Dengue

Since both are common and well known tropical diseases, malaria and dengue are often mentioned in the same breath but are vastly different diseases.

For one, Malaria and dengue are usually not found in the same locations. While dengue is predominantly found in urban areas, malaria is not. And while both dengue and malaria are generally spread by mosquitoes, the type of mosquitoes that spread each disease is different. Dengue is spread by the Aedes mosquito, whereas malaria is spread by the Anopheles mosquito.

When it comes to symptoms, there are several which are shared such as fever, joint pains, occasional nausea, and a couple of others. Notably however, the characteristic symptoms of each disease represent the biggest differences of malaria and dengue fever.

With its classic rash, the symptoms of dengue fever do not resemble malaria in the slightest. Instead of a rash, malaria is most commonly recognized by its cycles of sudden chills, shaking, and fever.
As the differences between malaria and dengue fever are clear cut, there is generally little trouble for medical experts to tell between them. That said, knowing how to recognize each yourself would not hurt.

Please click on the links to learn more about Dengue Fever: Danger Areas, Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment as well as How to Avoid and Treat Malaria.

Dengue Fever: Danger Areas, Prevention, Symptoms and Treatment


Update: The Department Of Health (DOH) reported that from January to August 5, 2008, the incidence of Dengue increased by more than 100%, compared to last year.

Is there a river, canal, puddle of water, grassy lots in your area? Are you anywhere near a stack of old tires, garbage pile and discarded coconut shells? Do you live in an area that has no regular sources of tap water and/or is densely populated? If the answer to any of the above is “Yes”, chances are, you are in a possible malaria and dengue fever area.

In a previous article, we have discussed how to avoid/prevent malaria. This article is all about Dengue that in recent years had become a regular problem in Metro Manila and the various areas in the Philippines. In fact, the Department of Health (DOH) in Metro Manila and Eastern Visayas recently issued a Dengue alert.

During rainy seasons, every place that is touched by rain is in danger of being invaded by the malaria or dengue fever causing mosquito. But even during dry seasons, the threat is present, especially in areas where people stock water in containers because of an irregular water supply.

What is the difference between malaria and dengue? Among other things, a glaring difference is that Dengue mosquito thrives on clear water. Flower pots and vases, bottle caps, aquariums, small puddles of water and almost any container that can carry a few drops of water has the potential of becoming breeding grounds of the Dengue mosquito. As the Secretary of Health likes to remind everybody, a bottle cap can breed 20 Dengue mosquitoes.

Dengue fever Prevention

To start with, let us all be clear with the fact that Dengue is not transmitted from one person to another but from bites of the Dengue mosquito (Aedes aegypti and albopictus). The mosquito starts breeding in a body of clear water, a couple of days after it has been left stagnant. In order to prevent the breeding and growth of the population of this type of mosquito in our area, here are some things that should be done:

  1. The best prevention measure is to maintain a clean environment.
  2. Properly dispose tin cans, bottles, tires and other containers so that these do not become artificial mosquito-breeding places.
  3. Water in the flower vases should be changed after a couple of days.
  4. Water drums should be kept covered at all times.
  5. Roof gutters should be kept clean and dry, all the time.
  6. Keep all vacant lots clean and make sure that no puddle of water exists.
  7. Turn empty pots, pails, wash basins and coconut shells upside down in order to keep it free of water.
Dengue fever Symptoms

Everyone should be able to identify a dengue fever based on the following symptoms:
Dengue Fever begins with sudden onset of high fever and headache accompanied by anorexia, vomiting and abdominal pain. Most dengue infections result in relatively mild illness, but some can progress to the deadly Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever (DHF).

Here are other noticeable symptoms of Dengue fever.
  1. Severe joint pains
  2. High fever – up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit
  3. Rashes
  4. Nosebleeding
  5. Gumbleeding
  6. Other forms of internal bleeding
  7. Severe headache
  8. Retro-orbital pain – pain behind the eye
  9. Muscle pains
  10. Muscle aches
  11. Swollen lymph nodes
  12. General weakness
  13. Nausea
  14. Vomiting
  15. Children get non-typical symptoms
  16. Prostration
  17. Severe headache
  18. Pain behind the eyes
  19. Severe muscle pain
  20. Slowed heart rate
  21. Enlarge lymph nodes
Dengue Fever Treatment:

There is no specific treatment for dengue fever. It is strongly recommended that Fluids be taken if there are signs of dehydration.

The US library of Medicine adds that though aspirin should be avoided, Acetaminophen (Tylenol) is used to treat a high fever.

Of course, a doctor's advice should immediately be sought. Dengue fever is not as simple as the ordinary flu. One will never know for sure if it is already the lethal Dengue hemorrhagic fever that was contracted until laboratory tests have confirmed it.

In closing, everyone should be vigilant in order to prevent any Dengue fever outbreak and to be able to recognize its symptoms as soon as it manifests. Unlike some types of illnesses which threatens specific groups, Dengue can strike even the cleanest area in this country. Remember, it only requires a small bottle cap to start a Dengue outbreak.

How To Avoid Malaria

It is the rainy season once again and the Department of Health is once again issuing warnings in order to prevent the outbreak of Malaria and Dengue. In a related post, we tackled Dengue Fever. In this article, let us talk about ways to prevent and cure Malaria.

The Anopheles Mosquito

Malaria is usually transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito and is passed on to other humans, creating an outbreak. It is said that in malaria in Africa, kills millions of people each year.

There are 4 species of malaria parasites: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium ovale. In the Philippines, the Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the common species of malaria (70%- P. falciparum and 30%- P. vivax).

The malaria mosquito (anopheles) attacks from dusk to dawn and it breeds in clear, slow flowing streams that normally found in mountainous/forested areas or in brackish water where salt and fresh water meet.

Here are some measures on how to avoid Malaria:

  1. Wear long pants and long sleeved clothing especially during dusk and dawn when the malaria causing mosquitoes are most active.
  2. Clean your surroundings. Dispose the old tires and any object that can hold water in in your backyard and garage. Clear all drainages and waterways in order to keep the water free flowing.
  3. Keep insects out of the house. Install insect screens in all windows and mount a screen door in every doorway. Keep the screen windows and doors closed at all times in order to prevent any mosquito from entering the house. Also keep all bedroom doors closed.
  4. Insect repellent. One hour prior to sleeping, close all bedroom windows and doors and spray the room with insecticide to kill any insect that could have slipped into the room. Thirty minutes after spraying, open the windows (but keep the screens firmly closed) to allow the toxic insecticide to leave the room. Remember that insecticides are poisonous. Remove all types of food and utensils from the room before spraying it with insecticide.
  5. Mosquito Net. Use it when you sleep.
  6. Avoid strong aftershaves and perfumes. Strong smell attracts mosquitoes.
  7. Lights Off. Light attracts mosquitos. Switch it off when you sleep to minimize the number of mosquitoes that will be tempted to go to your room.
  8. Insect repellant Use Off lotion or any of those insect repellent that can be applied on expose skin to keep away mosquitoes
  9. When going to a Malaria endemic area, get a prescription for Malaria (Chemoprophylaxis) pills and strictly follow the correct dosage prescribed. While this will not guarantee that you will be immune to the disease, it will be a big help.
  10. In case symptoms indicative of possible malaria infection at any time, consult a doctor and inform him of the trip to a Malaria endemic area and of your suspicion of possible infection in order for doctor to prescribe the appropriate tests.


Here are indications of possible malaria infection:
* Chills
* Fever
* Too much sweating when fever subsides
* Headache

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