In uncomplicated malaria the patient:
- Has mild symptoms
- Is fully alert and able to stand and walk
- Is passing urine
- Is not vomiting repeatedly, and is able to take oral medication
- Has no signs of organ failure
In uncomplicated malaria the parasite count on a thin blood smear is less than 5%, i.e. less than 5% of red cells containing malaria parasites.
In severe malaria the patient may have any of the following:
- Signs of cerebral malaria
- Breathing difficulty
- Hypoglycaemia, jaundice or severe anaemia (Hb less than 5 g/dl)
- Repeated vomiting, apparent dehydration or little urine passed
- A shocked appearance
In severe malaria the parasite count is well over 5% (hyperparasitaemia). The higher the count, the more severe the malaria. Metabolic acidosis may occur.