Diagnosis & treatment

Photo: Damien Schumann/MMV

The diagnosis of malaria, including P. vivax malaria, is challenging because its symptoms are similar to those of other infectious diseases.

Clinical manifestations and symptoms on their own do not provide an accurate diagnosis of P. vivax malaria. Confirmation can only be done by a diagnostic tool (light microscopy, a rapid diagnostic test, or molecular methods). 

The treatment of P. vivax malaria requires the administration of a blood stage treatment in combination with a liver stage treatment. However,  liver stage treatments such as primaquine or tafenoquine could cause the rupture or destruction of red blood cells in G6PD-deficient individuals.

G6PD deficiency is the most common human enzymatic disorder and is prevalent in populations that are, or have been, exposed to malaria. Ongoing research into alternatives treatment for G6PD-deficient individuals is being undertaken.