The Link Between Multiple Sclerosis and Malaria Part 4

This post discusses how MS has been linked to malaria for over 100 years and why malaria may be one of the main infections that causes multiple sclerosis. This is part 4 of our MS and malaria series.


A large and ever-growing body of research confirms that MS is an infectious disease caused by a parasitic infestation.

There are about 75 scientific papers dating back to the 1880’s which reveal how researchers discovered malaria protists in MS patients. This caused many to believe that MS is caused by an infectious agent.

Malaria is a disease caused by a protozoa parasite that is spread by mosquitoes and infects red blood cells (RBCs). When this parasite is present in the central nervous system, it causes a demyelinating disease similar to multiple sclerosis.

The small number of annual reported cases of malaria in developed countries indicates that there is likely a much larger number of cases that are not diagnosed, and furthermore, a huge number of cases that are “silent” or not displaying the typical symptoms of malaria.

It is a well-known fact that it can be extremely difficult to find malaria parasites using current testing methods.

Researchers suspect that a silent infection of malaria in early childhood provides immunity to malaria and protects against the development of MS later in life. In contrast, they believe that a silent malarial infection during adolescence or adulthood can cause MS.


Historic data on the link between MS and malaria

Previous research reveals antibodies against the malarial parasite in 30 – 40% of all MS patients and the actual parasite was found in close to 20% of MS patients. This evidence, together with similarities in symptoms and human population studies, all suggest that malaria parasites can cause MS.

In 1892, two researchers wrote a paper about three situations in which MS and malaria occurred together:

  1. Symptoms are temporary and are only present during a malarial fever
  2. Symptoms appear after the fever and the duration of symptoms vary
  3. Symptoms appear suddenly without the presence of a malarial fever.

These authors found that the malarial drug quinine was helpful in the 2 cases of MS that they treated.

In 1897, Spiller reported that a case of malaria showed symptoms of disseminated sclerosis which is similar to MS, mostly affecting one side of the body. He recognized how similar this malaria case was to a case of multiple sclerosis.

In 1899, Mannaberg was likely the first to believe that MS could be caused by an infection of malarial parasites. He believed that the symptoms that resemble MS play a major role in malaria.

In 1900, Spiller published a paper discussing a case study of a patient who suffered eight years with multiple sclerosis, had no history of malaria and had never shown any malarial attacks. The malaria diagnosis was discovered only after his death.

In 1904, Muller thought that malaria and MS were caused by blockages of small blood vessels in the brain by parasitized red blood cells. He recommended quinine as a useful remedy in all cases of MS, especially when vertigo was a major symptom.

Textbooks written in 1936 and 1963 both described chronic malarial infections that caused neurological symptoms. These symptoms resembled multiple sclerosis wherein the patient did not get a fever and the malaria parasites were very difficult, if not impossible to detect.

Neurological symptoms included:

  • Scanning speech – where there is a pause after every syllable and the syllables themselves are pronounced slowly.
  • Intention tremor – tremors gets worse when trying to reach for something specific.
  • Nystagmus – a vision condition in which the eyes make repetitive, uncontrolled movements.
  • Spastic gait – a stiff, foot dragging walk caused by a long muscle contraction on one side.
  • Increased reflexes.


Malaria granulomas in MS

Granulomas are tiny clusters of white blood cells and other tissue. They can appear in the lungs, skin or other parts of the body. They form as a reaction to infections.

In 1917, Durck found malaria granulomas in MS patients. He questioned whether multiple sclerosis was caused by malaria and thought that the malaria granulomas could be the starting point of developing MS lesions.

Several other researchers also found granulomas, although their findings have not been further studied.


Capillary Hemorrhages

A capillary hemorrhage occurs when a very small blood vessel breaks open.

MS lesions are always located around small veins.

In 1849, Frerichs found several hemorrhages in a case of MS.

These hemorrhages have also been observed by a number of other neuropathologists.

In 1911, two researchers were convinced that MS was caused by an infectious agent and that the formation of lesions was just the result of capillary hemorrhages.

Durck found hemorrhages in cases of malarial infections in the brain, mostly in the same parts of the brain where MS lesions are usually located.

In 1916, Dawson also found small hemorrhages or capillary hemorrhages in MS.

In 1942, two neuropathologists wrote, “Whether the individual lesion [caused by malaria] is of the nature of a hemorrhage, a focus of necrosis [tissue death], or a granulomatous nodule, the end result is a patch of sclerosis. Multiple areas of sclerosis diffusely scattered would produce disturbance of cerebral function.”


Similarities between malarial ring hemorrhage and iron deposits in MS lesions.

Red blood cells infected with malarial parasites can cause circulatory disorders.

In 1988, researchers found ring hemorrhages around the obstructed small vessels in the brain tissue commonly observed in cerebral malaria.

In 1982 and 1988, different researchers found iron deposits surrounding lesions in all MS cases studied. They believed this ring was evidence of a past hemorrhage.

In 1943, researchers also observed deposits of iron directly surrounding MS lesions.

Small hemorrhages and demyelination are similar in malaria and MS. Both MS and malaria cause a demyelinating disease in the brain.


Leptomeningitis in malaria and multiple sclerosis

A form of lymphocytic leptomeningitis is present in multiple sclerosis and in malaria where only immune cells resembling lymphocytes and very few monocytes are present.

In 1911, two researchers describe the existence of a mild form of leptomeningitis in MS patients.

In 1917, Durck reported on leptomenigitis in cases of cerebral malaria. He found mostly cells resembling lymphocytes with very few monocytes.

In 1958, Peters and in 1970, Lumsden described chronic leptomeningitis in MS.

In 1975, two researchers found inflammatory lesions in the meninges of the brain in 41% of their autopsied cases of MS.


Multiple sclerosis is linked to other species of plasmodium protists that cause malaria

Malaria can produce a wide range of central nervous system symptoms similar to neurosyphilis and MS.

Between the years 1965 – 1992 several studies about MS and the vivax malaria species were published.


Why has this research stopped?

This is just a brief, but intriguing review of some of the studies linking malaria and multiple sclerosis. The biggest question that remains is why has this significant research been dropped after the 1990’s? Why didn’t researchers continue to determine if malaria causes MS?

Could it be due to the fact that the first McDonald Criteria for the diagnosis of MS was introduced in 2001? Thereafter, the majority of MS research shifted from identifying infectious agents that cause MS in hopes of finding a cure, to the development of disease modifying maintenance pharmaceuticals that suppress immune function in an attempt to manage disease.

Although this criteria has been revised in 2005, 2010 and 2017 not much has changed with respect to the diagnosis and treatment of MS and other chronic diseases. This has resulted in a very lucrative medical and pharmaceutical complex and tremendous suffering, disability and premature death in patients.

If you would like to check out parts 1-3 of my MS & Malaria series, Click Here.

There are real solutions to recover from parasites today!

To restore health, we must focus on treating the cause of inflammation, which are parasites. First, identify the enemy (parasites), then support the body and treat the parasites while following a holistic approach. When parasitic infections are treated effectively, we can overcome inflammation or disease.

If you’re frustrated with the fact that our standard of care STILL doesn’t offer a real solution for treating MS and other diseases, then click on the link below to watch Pam Bartha’s free masterclass training and discover REAL solutions that have allowed Pam and many others to live free from MS and other diseases.

CLICK Here to watch Pam’s masterclass training

Or take the Health Blocker Quiz to see if you could have parasite infections 



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