Malaria is a life-threatening disease. It’s typically transmitted through the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Infected mosquitoes carry the Plasmodium parasite. When this mosquito bites you, the parasite is released into your bloodstream. Once the parasites are inside your body, they travel to the liver, where they mature. After several days, the mature parasites enter the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open. The parasites continue to infect red blood cells, resulting in symptoms that occur in cycles that last two to three days at a time. (Luo, 2017)
Types of Malaria That Can Be Transmitted to Humans
Plasmodium falciparum: found in tropical and subtropical areas; major contributor to deaths from severe malaria
- vivax: found in Asia and Latin America; has a dormant stage that can cause relapses
- ovale: found in Africa and the Pacific islands
- malariae: worldwide; can cause a chronic infection
- knowlesi: found throughout Southeast Asia; can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection
Common symptoms of malaria include:
- shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
- high fever
- profuse sweating
- abdominal pain
- muscle pain
- bloody stools
Rapid and accurate diagnosis of malaria is integral to the appropriate treatment of affected individuals and in preventing the further spread of infection in the community. As a national reference center for malaria diagnosis, CDC provides diagnostic and technical assistance on malaria diagnosis. CDC provides reference microscopic diagnosis and other specialized tests such as serology, PCR, and drug-resistance testing. (Anon., n.d.)
Treatment of malaria depends on many factors including disease severity, the species of malaria parasite causing the infection, and the part of the world in which the infection was acquired. The latter two characteristics help determine the probability that the organism is resistant to certain antimalarial drugs. Additional factors such as age, weight, and pregnancy status may limit the available options for malaria treatment. (Anon., n.d.)
No medication is 100% effective in preventing Malaria, and therefore the prevention of mosquito bites is of paramount importance. These preventive measures should include the following:
Sleeping under bed nets: These should cover all of the bed down to the floor. These nets are most effective when treated with an insecticide.
Clothing: Clothing that covers most of the exposed skin and shoes that are closed can reduce the risk of bites. Tuck in all clothing, and pants should be tucked into socks to avoid exposure around the ankles. In addition, treating clothes with insecticides can prevent bites even further.
Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin.
A lot of studies are still in place in terms of treating malaria, this was reported by the BBC news earlier, this research can be groundbreaking for fighting the disease. (Gallagher, 2020)
Anon., n.d. Center for desease control and prevention. [Online]
Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/diagnosis_treatment/index.html
[Accessed 4 may 2020].
Gallagher, J., 2020. BBC. [Online]
Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/health-52530828
[Accessed 04 MAY 2020].
Luo, E. K., 2017. Healthline. [Online]
Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/malaria
[Accessed 4 may 2020].