Overview | Facts | Types | Causes | Symptoms | Risks factors | Complications | Diagnosis | Treatment | Prevention
Malaria. Maybe, we all are aware of this disease. But, there are so many things that we don’t know about it, such as—how one caught malaria? What are its symptoms and causes? How will malaria get diagnosed? And how to treat and prevent it?
Well, if you are also one of those who want the answers to all of these questions then you are end up at the right place. Here, we are going to tell you everything you should know about the disease — Malaria.
Let’s know some facts to know the seriousness of malaria disease.
- In a year, about 4,45000 people lose their life due to malaria.
- There were about 229 million cases of malaria in 2019, according to an estimate.
- In 2019, there were about 4,09,000 people lost their lives. Among which, about 67% were children with under 5 years of age.
- The US has about 1700 cases per year of malaria from immigrants and travelers mostly.
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a severe, life – threatening, blood disease caused due to the more of female Anopheles mosquito. This anopheles mosquito transmit the plasmodium parasite, responsible for malaria disease, in humans. There are about 100 types of plasmodium parasite. The severity and symptoms of the malaria disease depends on the parasite species also.
Malaria isn’t a contagious disease, means it can not be spread from one person to the other directly. Only anopheles mosquitoes can spread malaria.
Types of malaria:
There are about 100 species of plasmodium, but among them, 5 species are responsible to spread malaria in humans only. Among these 5, the two most dangerous species are:
- Plasmodium falciparum – This is the most common species of plasmodium, largely found in Africa. This species is widely responsible for the deaths caused due to malaria. Because the rate of multiplication of this specie is very high. Hence, it multiplies quickly, and results in blood loss and clogged blood vessels.
- Plasmodium Vivax – This specie is generally found in Asia and Latin America. They can lie inactive for months or years after bite, and still be able to reward you malaria.
How a person gets infected with malaria?
(Cause of malaria)
Mosquito transmission cycle:
- Mosquito bite: A normal mosquito bite and feed the blood of a malaria infected person, or host. Now the mosquito itself contains malaria spreading parasite — plasmodium. The host may not experience any symptoms till an average of 10.5 days.
- Transmission: When this infected mosquito bite someone else, then while feeding it also injects the parasite of malaria in the blood of the uninfected person. Due to this, this uninfected person turns into the infected one.
- In the liver: Now, the parasite after entering into your body, travel to your liver. In liver, they multiply.
- In the blood: The increased number of parasites now travel into your blood and invades your blood cells. They lay their eggs in your blood cells. And they get multiply until the cell bursts. This bursts releases more parasites into your bloodstream. They attack more blood cells and get releases in blood stream. This procedure continues and you fell sick and infected by malaria.
After you get malaria, if any other mosquito will feed your blood, it will also get infected. And then it spreads this parasite to others. And the cycle goes on.
Some other causes of malaria are:
- Blood transfusion
- Organ transplant
- From a pregnant mother to her unborn child.
- If you live in a country having warm weather, then you are more likely to get this disease. As warm weather is favorable to anopheles mosquitoes.
Symptoms of malaria:
After one get infected with malaria, the infected individual can experience the symptoms after 10 – 15 days. The symptoms are —
- High fever
- Trembling chills
- Body ache
- Rapid heart rate
- Kidney failure
- Bloody stools
Severe malaria symptoms:
- Multiple convulsions
- Impaired consciousness
- Shivering chills
- Abnormal bleeding
- Deep breathing
- Respiratory issues
- Signs of anemia
- Vital organ dysfunction.
- Rapid heart rate
If not treated, severe malaria can be problematic.
If you are infected with plasmodium Vivax species, them you may not be able to experience symptoms even within 2 weeks.
Risks factors of malaria:
- Living or traveling to malaria-prone areas such as tropical or subtropical regions
- Sub – Sahara Africa
- Pacific islands
- South and Southeast Asia
- Central America
- Northern South America
- Young children, Old adults, pregnant women, and travelers are at high risk if they reside or travel to malaria-prone areas.
Life-threatening complications of malaria:
- Cerebral malaria (swelling of the blood vessels of the brain)
- Breathing problem due to fluid accumulation in lungs or pulmonary edema
- Low blood sugar
- Organ failure of kidney, liver, or spleen
A simple blood test is enough to tell you about your malaria infection. But a doctor may ask you about your recent travel history and physical examination.
If you have any symptoms, then waste your time and go straight to your doctor for a diagnosis.
For malaria, a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) or microscopic laboratory test is recommended by WHO. A parasitological test can also help you to diagnose.
Your doctor may prescribe you these medications based on your age, the parasite you have and many other factors.
- Hydroxy chloroquine
- ACT therapy
- Artesunate etc.
WHO recommends Artemisnin-based combination therapy (ACT). It rapidly reduces the concentration of plasmodium parasite in the bloodstream
- Go straight to your doctor if you experience any kind of symptoms.
- Avoid travelling to any such areas where malaria can be waiting for you.
- Wear full sleeves clothes.
- Apply insect or mosquito repellent to your skin, especially during dusk and dawn.
- Cover your skin as much as possible
- Sleep under an insecticide-treated mosquito net
- Use indoor residual spraying (IRS) to stop transmission of malaria
- Can consume antimalarial drugs, if prescribed by your doctor.
Vaccine against malaria:
Vaccine against malaria is still not ready. Scientists are still working on it.
Till then, take precautions and stay safe.