Cheryl Cole has been moved to a specialist intensive care unit after she caught malaria while on holiday in Africa. The X Factor judge’s condition was today described as 'worse than first thought' as she had emergency treatment at London Hospital of Tropical Diseases and was said to be in a 'great deal of pain.' A friend said the star’s doctors think she caught the potentially fatal illness after she was bitten by a mosquito while she was on holiday in Tanzania last month.
The former Girls Aloud singer, 27, was rushed to hospital after she collapsed at a photo shoot on Saturday. First her illness was put down to exhaustion, but then she started showing classic symptoms such as sweating and shaking. "It is a lot more serious than first thought,” a source told The Sun newspaper. “Everyone thought she would pull through after 24 hours but there have been no signs of improvement." "She is very ill and will not be out of hospital for a while. Everyone is holding their breath. Because of her hectic schedule, the malaria has really taken a hold." They added: "She has not got the physical strength to beat it. She is going to need all of her Geordie grit to win this battle." "It isn't pretty. There are fears that because she is so delicate, permanent damage have been done to her liver. She is so tiny - the medication is hitting her hard."
Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually surface between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, it can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. Mrs Cole had taken a full course of malaria tablets. But in many parts of the world, certain forms of the virus are drug resistant.
About 3.3 billion people - half of the world's population - are at risk of malaria. Every year, this leads to about 250 million malaria cases and nearly one million deaths, according to figures from the World Health Organisation. People living in the poorest countries are the most at risk. Malaria is especially a serious problem in Africa, where one in every five childhood deaths is due to the effects of the disease. An African child has on average between 1.6 and 5.4 episodes of malaria fever each year. And every 30 seconds a child dies from malaria.