Mosquitoes are responsible for causing more human suffering than any other organism. Malaria is a fatal disease caused by parasites transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Plasmodium is the parasite which infects female Anopheles mosquitoes, called malaria vectors and causes malaria in humans.
World Malaria Day is celebrated on 25th April to increase awareness about malaria and recognizing global efforts to control this disease.
- According to the World Health Organization, about 3.2 billion people worldwide are at a risk of malaria.
- Malaria claims nearly 1000 deaths every year in India.
- Fever occurring in four-to-eight hour cycles and sweats
- Headache and body ache
- Nausea and vomiting
Infections can get complicated by organ failures and delay in treatment can lead to severe illness often leading to death. Following are the complications which can arise in various organs:
- Breathing problems and acute respiratory distress syndrome
- Severe anemia due to destruction of the red blood cells
- Liver failure and jaundice
- Fits, convulsions and loss of consciousness due to cerebral malaria
- Abnormally low blood glucose
- Acute kidney failure
- Swelling and rupturing of the spleen
Prevention of Malaria
Controlling the transmission of the parasite by preventing mosquitoes bites is the most important step in preventing malaria:
- Wear protective clothing when outdoors. Cover up with long-sleeved shirts, long trousers, tucked into socks and a hat if thin-haired.
- Use effective insect repellents on skin and on clothing and reapply at regular intervals as prescribed.
- If you are planning your travel, find out the risk of malaria in that area and take your doctor’s advice before visiting the place.
- Arrange for undamaged, impregnated bed-nets to be used in sleeping areas not properly screened or air-conditioned.
- Keep water containers covered and clean up old tires, cans, and barrels because standing water is the breeding place for the mosquitoes.
The treatment of malaria depends on the type of parasite, severity of the symptoms, age and location of the patient and the pregnancy status of the female patient. Rapid diagnosis is very important for an effective treatment. Based on these factors, the doctor will prescribe antimalarial drugs like Chloroquine, Quinine sulphate, Quinine sulphate, or artemisinin-based combination therapy. Atovaquone-proguanil, doxycycline, or mefloquine are a few drugs used in India.
DID YOU KNOW?
A research vaccine against the malarial parasite (Plasmodium falciparum), known as RTS, S/AS01 is being evaluated in a large clinical trial conducted in 7 countries.
- World Health Organization. Accessed April 13, 2016.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed April 13, 2016.
- Mayoclinic. Accessed April 13, 2016.
- National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme. Accessed April 14, 2016.
- National Health Portal. Accessed April 14, 2016.