About 3.2 billion people, i.e. half of the world’s population, are at risk of malaria. Found in tropical and subtropical climates where the plasmodium parasites can live, Malaria usually affects pregnant women and children under 5 who are at particularly higher risk.
Malaria can be caused by mosquito bites, can be passed on to the baby by the infected mother or transmitted through infected blood. A direct Mosquito bite from a female anopheles mosquito carrying the plasmodium parasite causes malaria. In case of Congenital Malaria, the Infected mother passes on the disease to the baby. Malaria is also transmitted by blood through blood transfusion, infected needle, organ transplant.
It takes 10-30 days for the symptoms of malaria to show up. The parasites carried by the mosquito enter the body via mosquito bite, travel to the liver where they mature and are then release in to bloodstream affecting the RBCs. Malaria is characterized by headache, fever, nausea, moderate to severe shaking chills, high sweating, vomiting, anemia, muscle pain and convulsions.
Malaria treatment is prescribed by the doctor as per the patient’s condition, age and type of parasite present in the body. Parasite resistance to artemisinin, the core compound in WHO-recommended combination treatments for uncomplicated malaria, has been detected in 5 countries of southeast Asia including Thailand and Myanmar. This is a source of major concern for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria.
No vaccination has till now been invented for Malaria. It can be prevented by taking few simple steps. Protect yourself from mosquitoes wherever possible. Drain stagnant water from flower pots and gardens to prevent breeding of Malaria carriers. Sleeping under insecticide-treated mosquito nets (example – permethrin) protects against malaria. Use mosquito repellent containing DEET on skins and nets. Indoor residual spraying is the most effective way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission.