Symptoms of Malaria, Typhoid and COVID-19. Dr KelechiWilliams Igbokwe

Before we move to discussing symptoms of these 3 different disease conditions, I want us to review the COVID-19 cases in Nigeria from 1st April to 1st June.

1st April 2020, we had 174 cases and from the 1st of April to 1st of May, we had a 1996 increase in positive cases. I warned that cases would get to 6000 cases by the May 2020 but I guess I was way off as we had over 10,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria by the end of May 2020.

On the 1st of May 2020, we had 2170 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, 351 discharged and 68 deaths. By 1st June 2020, we had 10,578 confirmed cases of COVID-19 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, 3122 discharged and 299 deaths.

So from 1st April to 1st May, we had an increase in the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 by 1,996 and from 1st of May 2020 to 1st of June 2020, we had an 8,408 increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Nigeria (this isn’t good at all and evidence that the preventive guidelines are poorly followed).

Nigeria by now has a flood of cases which are not detected following the lack of adequate and wide range testing. People are presenting to hospitals with COVID-19 related symptoms, while some others are going about their daily lives as they believe COVID-19 is a ‘scam’ hence not adequately isolating themselves and in turn infecting others including the vulnerable.

Recently in Nigeria, alot of people have are complaining of a sudden loss of taste or smell (which are one of the mild symptoms of COVID-19), yet some ignorantly and carelessly say those are symptoms of ‘malaria and typhoid’🤦🏾‍♂️. I want to actually say this to you and may be it could jumpstart your sense of reasoning….. “So all of a sudden, many people in Nigeria are complaining of a sudden loss of taste and smell (with or without other symptoms) almost at the same time, also in clusters and you in your right senses call it ‘malaria and typhoid’? You actually do need help!!!”

I will assist you by running thru symptoms of malaria, typhoid and COVID-19.


It is very important to note that Malaria is caused by a parasite called PLASMODIUM FALCIPARUM.

Common symptoms are:– Paroxysm of Fever– Cough– Fatigue– Malaise– Shaking chills– Arthralgia– Myalgia

Less common symptoms are:– Anorexia– Lethargy– Nausea– Vomiting– Diarrhoea– Jaundice


Its very important to note that typhoid/enteric fever is primarily caused by bacteria called SALMONELLA ENTERICA.

Common symptoms are:– Stepladder fever pattern or fever of insidious onset.– Chills– Anorexia– Diaphoresis– Malaise– Insomnia– Frontal headache– Diarrhoea– Constipation– Bloating– Diffuse abdominal pain– Coated tongue.– Jaundice

Rare symptoms are:– Rigor– Mild cough– Acute fever– Dicrotic pulse– Myalgia– Arthralgia– Meningitis


Its very important to NOTE that COVID-19 is caused by a virus SARS-CoV-2.

Some people can be asymptomatic carriers, yet infect others, while some others could have mild to moderate symptoms. People are expecting to start experiencing severe symptoms before they take action or even take precautions and this has been our attitude towards our health in general (even without a pandemic).

Common symptoms are:– Fever– Dry cough– Tiredness– Loss of taste– Loss of smell– Body Pains– Sore throat– Anorexia– Headache– Diarrhoea

Less common symptoms are:

– Sputum production

– Conjunctivitis

– Skin rash

– Discoloration of fingers or toes

– Myalgia

Severe symptoms (28-40% of cases) are:

– Difficulty in breathing or shortness of breath

– Chest pain or pressure

– Loss of speech or movement.

Now we have listed the symptoms of these three disease conditions, it’s very important to note that COATED TONGUE is different from LOSS OF TASTE. A coated tongue hasn’t lost its sense of taste. There is no relationship loss of taste and smell has with malaria and typhoid (as you can see).

The truth is that COVID-19 isn’t death sentence (I keep saying this)… It’s said by NCDC, that Over 80% of people might recover without treatment. However the issue we are having in Nigeria is that of non-adherance to self isolation. That’s why people need to get tested and treated so we can protect the vulnerable who may likely develop severe symptoms and death. Those who fall in the vulnerable category are the elderly and those with comorbidities (other disease conditions).

NCDC said yesterday that “75% of COVID-19 cases in Nigeria have unknown sources of Infection, this is normal for a respiratory virus & suggests ongoing community transmission in Nigeria”

With this community transmission, its very important that people with symptoms make themselves available for testing and those who have no symptoms should maintain distancing and follow the guidelines.

People don’t really understand what body NCDC is. They are the Nigerian centre for disease control. They have been battling lassa fever and still on it currently even on the background of the COVID-19 pandemic. They battled Ebola in 2014. They respond to every outbreak in the country. Every country has a centre for disease control. Taiwan’s centre for disease control was ready for this pandemic because they were badly hit in the SARS outbreak of 2003 and after that, they got prepared for any other outbreak. Of course its citizens also adhered to the guidelines given and today they are almost out of it with a 96% recovery.

A lot of people claim they can’t submit themselves for testing because NCDC will automatically say they are positive and I tell them NCDC has no use for that and from their data, they have carried out 69,801 tests on people in 36 states of Nigeria and 11,166 people have tested positive. Which means 58,635 people tested negative. So why would they automatically say you are positive when you are not? You see how useless that statement/claim is? We need to seriously start thinking right.

If you claim COVID-19 a scam yet refuse to get the test done, it only means you are living in denial.

The same way you can’t know if its HIV or Hepatitis or TB or even Malaria until a test is done, is the same way you will never know its COVID-19 until a test is done. Hence the need to self isolate, call your state’s response team when you have COVID-19 related symptoms….Just so you don’t keep spreading the virus and infecting more people.

Few weeks ago someone sent me a DM on facebook complaining how she has loss of taste and smell, with cough and asked me for suggestions. Well I told her ut was a red flag for COVID-19 and I asked her to call the response number so her sample will be collected for tests. She did just that and the test came out positive. She is currently receiving treatment and also her family have been isolated and tested (we are waiting for the results).A man I worked with in Nysc Sokoto’s camp clinic tested positive last two months and he died.

COVID-19 in Nigeria is real and the numbers likely under reported, so we all must individual ensure we follow the guidelines and keep ourselves safe.


– Put on facemasks when ever you are going out.

– Maintain af least 6 frets physical distance between you and the next person.

– Don’t touch surfaces

– Always wash you hands with soap under running water or with alcohol based hand sanitizer when water and soap isn’t available.

– If you must enter a public transport or a bike, ensure they are using facemasks and always have your facemasks on.

– Call your hospital if you notice any of the COVID-19 related symptoms.

– Avoid crowded places.

– Work from home as much as possible, if you can.


-Dr Kelechi Williams Igbokwe.

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