Malaria

Malaria is a mosquito-borne life-threatening blood disease. Female anopheles mosquito will transmits to human being. Parasites present in mosquitos spreads malaria related to Plasmodium genus. Variety of species gets affected by Plasmodium parasite. There are 100 types of Plasmodium parasite which replicate differently, severity of the particular disease and showing symptoms escalation.

Mosquito biting
Female Anopheles Mosquito

Humans gets affected by mainly 5 kinds of Plasmodium parasite. These parasites are present in different parts of the world. Some can cause very severe stage in malaria than other parasites.

Once after the infected mosquito bites human being, these parasites start multiplying in the human body’s liver and destroys red blood cells.

Therefore, early diagnosis helps in controlling and treating malaria. 

SYMPTOMS

Malaria symptoms divided into 2 types:

  1. Severe Malaria
  2. Uncomplicated Malaria

Severe Malaria

In this case laboratory or clinical evidence shows vital organ dysfunction.

Symptoms include:

  • Impaired consciousness
  • Chills and fever
  • Multiple convolution
  • Adopting or prostration of prone position
  • Respiratory distress and deep breathing
  • Signs of anemia and abnormal bleeding
  • Lastly, vital organ dysfunction evidence and clinical jaundice

This type of malaria can be fatal if untreated.

Uncomplicated Malaria

Doctors diagnose when symptoms seen. If no symptoms are seen then it suggests dysfunction of vital organs or severe infection. This type of malaria can become very severe if not treated or if the human has less or no immunity at all.

Moreover, this malarial symptoms can last for 6 to 11 hours which recurs every alternate day. Some parasite strains will have mixed symptoms or longer cycle. Symptoms resemble as flu, they can remain misdiagnosed or undiagnosed in places where malaria is uncommon.

3 stages of symptoms observed in uncomplicated malaria cold, hot and sweat stage:

  • Firstly, severe sensation of cold also with shivering
  • Vomiting, headaches and fever
  • Sometimes seizures seen in younger people
  • Sweating, body returns back to the normal temperature, tiredness

TREATMENT

  • Elimination of plasmodium parasite present in the bloodstream is the aim of the treatment.
  • To treat uncomplicated malaria ACT (Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy) recommended by the WHO (World Health Organization).
  • Plant named Artemisia annual produces Artemisinin also known as sweet wormwood. This Artemisinin helps in reducing Plasmodium parasite concentration in the body bloodstream. ACT usually combined with partner drug. The number of Plasmodium parasite eliminated by ACT in first three days of infection, and further the rest eliminated by the partner drug.
  • Worldwide ACT treatment helped in reducing malaria but the disease is increasingly resistant to ACT effects.
  • Moreover, when malaria is resistant to ACT the treatment should include an effective drug partner. WHO warned that there is no alternatives available for several years.

CAUSES

  1. Female Anopheles mosquito infects the body by transmitting Plasmodium parasite. The development of parasites in the body becomes successful depending on different factors such as ambient temperatures and humidity.
  2. Infected mosquito biting human and the parasite enters the body spread through the bloodstream. It lays dormant in liver. On an average 10 to 11 days the host will not have any symptoms, but during this time the parasite in the body starts multiplying.
  3. Further, the newly formed parasites in the liver released into the bloodstream, further infecting the red blood cells and starts multiplying. Even some parasites will stay in the liver without circulating in the body the results in recurrence. Again an uninfected mosquito will acquire parasites when it feeds a human who got infected with malaria. Cycle restarts.

DIAGNOSIS

Early diagnosis is very critical in case of recovery. Anyone with the signs of malaria should undergo testing and treat immediately. Confirming the parasite by undergoing RDT (Rapid diagnostic Test), microscopic laboratory testing or any other test depending on the availability recommended by WHO.

Hence, symptoms cannot reliably distinguish other causes from malaria, hence parasitological test is necessary for the identification and also managing the disease.

ADVICE FOR TRAVELLERS

Traveller
Traveller
  • Prior to travelling need to find out the risk of malaria in a particular region or city or country one is visiting.
  • Should ask the doctors about the medication or precautions to take to prevent infection in their region.
  • Therefore, before leaving home one should have antimalarial drugs so that one can avoid counterfeit drugs while in abroad or travelling.
  • Individual traveller risk includes older people, children, pregnant ladies or any other medical conditions of travellers. 
  • One should be aware of malarial symptoms.
  • Moreover, access to preventive tools are available like insecticides, insect repellants, appropriate clothing and pre-treated bed nets.

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