Everyone here has had malaria. It's profoundly common. I am told that in most cases, it is just a fact of life, not to be worried about. For children, it can be quite serious, so the anti-malarial medication is given at the first sign.
And it turns out that there is a type of malarial which affects the brain: cerebral malaria. Looks to me like the first identification of this may have been in the early sixties and there still is no diagnostic for it although new research suggests that there is a certain antibody reaction with a brain protein which might predispose one to this form of malaria.
From Bio Discovery Toronto:
Plasmodium falciparum malaria is one of the world's most deadly diseases, infecting an estimated 300 million to 500 million people and causing 1.5 million to 2.7 million deaths annually. A novel approach to preventing and treating severe and cerebral malaria has recently been developed. Studies demonstrated that stimulating the expression of the CD36 receptor (the major receptor mediating clearance of malaria in non-immune individuals) increases clearance of malaria and decreased the excessive pro-inflammatory responses that have been linked to severe and cerebral malaria.
My local guide, Raymond, tells me that some people recover from cerebral malaria and show no signs of damage. Tomorrow, I have an appointment with a doctor at the Government Hospital who can tell me more.