The article is a useful reminder that you can catch malaria despite taking precautions, and that the diagnosis should always be considered when unexplained illness develops within six months of visiting a malarial area. That is advice which I give to patients when prescribing tablets for malarial prophylaxis, and the more widely it is known the better.
But how had she got to the hospital? In a throwaway line she reports that
my GP referred me "as a precaution".No doubt her GP used those words in order not to alarm her. Also perhaps because he (or she) was far from certain about the diagnosis and felt a little embarrassed about acting "on a hunch". But that is what GPs try to do: spotting the possibly serious in a sea of headaches and tiredness. It is said that we are experts in what is Normal. We may not know exactly what the Abnormal is, that is for our specialist colleagues to determine, but we try hard to recognise it when it sits in front of us.
There is little glory or prestige in this task. When you succeed the specialist gets all the credit for making the diagnosis, if you fail you are castigated for missing it. But if we had wanted glory we wouldn't have gone into general practice.