PDA

View Full Version : Malaria...



gwendy85
04-09-2009, 02:26 PM
Hello again!

I'm doing another major revision in my novel. My character is going to be hit by malaria. I've done research, but I believe it would be good to here from people who have battled with this disease, if there are any in AW.

Here are my questions:

1.) What was it like when the first symptoms appeared? Is it like the usual feverish feeling? Is it sudden or gradual?

2.) I've read that malaria-stricken patients often have convulsions. What is it like? Does it feel cold? Or is it just uncontrollable muscle spasms? Does it hurt and how long does it usually last? And how often do these convulsions occur?

3.) What are the long-term effects of malaria?

4.) My novel is set in the 1940s. The cure then was quinine. Any other remedies that could have been administered to such patients?

Thanks and appreciate the input. I may have more questions on the way depending ^_^

Mumut
04-09-2009, 03:31 PM
I'm not sure when it was used but the army used Atabrin (spelling?). It turned people yellow. Some regular users became imune and were punished by the army who ordered taking the drug every day. To get Malaria obviously meant the soldier had disobeyed orders.

I used to come down with the disease quite quickly. I'd be so sick all I could do was lie in bed and melt. I'd have soaked the sheets with sweat in no time. Once I had a motorbike to use so I didn't have to walk seven hours to get into town. I don't know how I stayed on it, I was so sick. I had a puncture but kept riding. If I'd stopped I'd have lain in the road for lord knows how long.

I once had it it Sydney, when I was on leave. It was so hard to do anything. I curled up on the train and everyone avoided me. The trip seemed to last hours and the walk to the doctor's surgery longer. The the idiot prescribed a drug that was no longer available and I had to walk to a chemist to get a note for the doctor telling him he was a twit and spelling out to him the correct medication (which I'd already told him!).

My wife got it in Evian, when we were on holiday. Luckily a French doctor had worked in French Equitorial Africa or she could have died because nobody could diagnose the problem.

Away from female anopheles (spelling?) mosquitos for a couple of years and my liver was back to normal. I'm not sure about the splene. In Papua New Guinea it is taken (legally) that you know that most people have distended splenes because of Malaria and any trauma to the splene can cause death. Hitting someone in the splene is attempted manslaughter, at least.

I hated taking anti-malarials so, at the first sign of the complaint, I'd down a handfull of them. In those days I drank alcohol, so I'd boil a chopped-up lime in a little water and a lot of sugar, then cool the concoction. I'd then add a liberal quantity of whiskey (not good stuff - it would be a waste). After drinking that I'd sweat it out overnight and wake up feeling a lot better (maybe a tad of a hangover, though).

gwendy85
04-09-2009, 08:15 PM
Hi Mumut! Thanks for the reply and for sharing your experience. I guess malaria doesn't go away as easy as that.

So...would it be accurate if I describe my character as suddenly weak and feverish when she was pretty much active a few minutes before?

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-10-2009, 02:21 AM
WHERE in the world is this happening?

4 species of malaria with different outcomes and fever patterns, depending on the area you are in.

I recommend the CDC website, the WHO website or even Wikipedia for your backgound.

I have a 1940s medical book for the details after we decide the basics.

Mumut
04-10-2009, 10:00 AM
Hi Mumut! Thanks for the reply and for sharing your experience. I guess malaria doesn't go away as easy as that.

So...would it be accurate if I describe my character as suddenly weak and feverish when she was pretty much active a few minutes before?

Yes, it creeps up on you. You feel slightly off then all of a sudden you're down and out. At least, that's what used to happen with me.

blacbird
04-10-2009, 11:01 AM
I'm not sure when it was used but the army used Atabrin (spelling?). It turned people yellow. Some regular users became imune and were punished by the army who ordered taking the drug every day. To get Malaria obviously meant the soldier had disobeyed orders.

In Vietnam we had to take malaria pills regularly. There were two kinds, a red one and a white one, as I recall. The white one was issued only in certain hot malaria areas; the red one, everybody had to take. I think it was once a month, but I could be wrong about that. In any case, it didn't make anybody turn yellow, that I'm aware of. It did, however, cause nasty intestinal cramps in a lot of people, including me.

And, yes, if you came down with malaria, it was a potential court-martial offense for disobeying orders, as it was considered evidence you hadn't taken the pills, as the standing order required. I know of no instance where such judicial punishment actually happened, but that doesn't mean it didn't.

caw

gwendy85
04-10-2009, 02:55 PM
I think I've got that court-martial/offense thing covered. The novel is set in the Philippines, World War II. In particular, two of my characters get malaria. One, a Filipino civilian and the other a Japanese soldier.

For the Japanese soldier, there was an instance wherein a company was trapped in the jungles for several weeks (in enemy territory). Food and medical supply had dwindled to almost nothing, so this particular soldier isn't the only one who got malaria.

Correct me please, if that doesn't sound right ^_^ As far as my research goes, anti-malarial drugs was not very available during the 1940s. Aside from quinine that is.

Tsu Dho Nimh
04-10-2009, 09:10 PM
I think I've got that court-martial/offense thing covered. The novel is set in the Philippines, World War II. In particular, two of my characters get malaria. One, a Filipino civilian and the other a Japanese soldier.

For the Japanese soldier, there was an instance wherein a company was trapped in the jungles for several weeks (in enemy territory). Food and medical supply had dwindled to almost nothing, so this particular soldier isn't the only one who got malaria.

Correct me please, if that doesn't sound right ^_^ As far as my research goes, anti-malarial drugs was not very available during the 1940s. Aside from quinine that is.

Atabrine was a preventive - often turned you a sickly yellow jaundiced color. Briefly there was a rumor that it made you impotent, which was squelched when the disease control groups had some oversexed movie stars brag about how Atabrine didn't slow them down. I don't know if the Japanese used Atabrine.

Anti-malarial drug was quinine. Chloroquine may have been avvauilable by then - I's have to look it up to see when it was developed.

The Phillippines has mostly Plasmidium vivax:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plasmodium_vivax#Epidemiology

But the much more serious P. falciparum is also present in the swampier areas ... if you want to kill someone or make them critically ill, this is the disease to use. it's called "blackwater fever" for two reasons: it is common in swamps, and the massive destruction of red blood cells makes your urine a dark brown (as it kills your kidneys).


Suymptoms and such are widely available via Google.

gwendy85
04-11-2009, 12:27 AM
Thanks much everyone! I think I've got all I need ^_^ I love AW esp the peepz in it!

StephanieFox
04-11-2009, 11:05 PM
My dad got malaria when he was in the tropics during WW II. He said it came on fairly suddenly, but since he was a doctor whose job it was to treat malaria, he knew exactly what was happening.

Quinine was the first treatment and worked pretty well. The Brits drank quinine water and gin to keep away the disease. Malaria is now becoming resistant to quinine. Back then, it was NOT an offense since the treatment worked, but not always.

Some people get reoccurent bouts, others have it once and if they survive, it doesn't come back. It turns people's skin and eyeballs yellow because it effects the liver.

You could also look into using another mosquito-born liver disease yellow fever.

padnar
04-12-2009, 06:21 PM
My husband was affected by Malaria.
He had high fever and he shivered a lot especially in the night.
If a person is suffering from high fever the doctors will ask yu to test and yu can find it out. Another thing it wiill repeat every month. Best thing is you take prescribed anti malaria tablets.
Padma

Ulee_Lhea
04-14-2009, 07:06 PM
Even today in SE Asia, the whole Gin and Tonic malaria preventative is a running a joke.

Crap, a mosquito just bit me! Bartender, get me a GnT stat!

There is one strain of malaria (falciparum) that comes on very quickly, and can attack the brain and cause convulsions. I'm not sure if it's found in the Philippines, but it is endemic in continental SE Asia and Indonesia. It is now resistant to chloroquine in this region (but probably wasn't in 1940). I don't know if any of the other strains commonly cause convulsions. The CDC's malaria website (http://www.cdc.gov/malaria/)mentioned above is an excellent resource.

Malaria often presents similar to a bad case of the flu (fever, muscle aches, lethargy). I went to the doctor with flu-like symptoms after a trip to New Guinea and was immediately tested for malaria (didn't have it, thank God!). I was living in Jakarta at the time, so they were pretty malaria savvy. Another guy I know actually got falciparum malaria, then pissed off to Nepal where he almost died because he thought he just had a bad case of the flu and would be over it in a couple of days.

As I understand it, there is now medicine that attacks malarial liver cysts (caused where the malaria parasite embeds and periodically reproduces) that can cure most cases of recurrent malaria. Not sure when that became available, but check out the malaria article on emedicine.com (http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/221134-overview)for more details. Those living with malaria might have a different perspective as to how widely available and/or effective this cure really is!