Malaria: Causes, Symptoms, Vaccine and Treatment
This article will explain you about malaria transmission , prevention, blood smear & causes .
Overview of malaria :
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease. The Anopheles mosquito transmits it to humans . The parasites in mosquitos that spread this belong to the Plasmodium genus. Over 100 types of Plasmodium parasite can infect a variety of species. Different types replicate at different rates, changing how quickly the symptoms escalate, and the severity of the disease.
Five types of Plasmodium parasite can infect humans. These occur in different parts of the world. Some cause a more severe type of malaria than others. Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying 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.
Malaria is typically found in tropical and subtropical climates where the parasites can live. The World Health Organization (WHO) states that, in 2016, there were an estimated 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control andPrevention (CDC) report 1,700 cases of malaria annually. Most cases of malaria develop in people who travel to countries where malaria is more common.
Some General Info:
Mode of transmission : By bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes
Incubation period : Approximately 12 days
- Headache, nausea and muscular pain.
- Feeling of chilliness and shivering followed by fever which becomes normal along with sweating after some time.
- The patient becomes weak and anaemic.
- If not treated properly secondary complications may lead to death.
- Fitting of double door and windows (with “Jali” i.e. wire mesh) in the house to prevent entry of mosquitoes.
- Use of mosquito net and mosquito repellents.
- No water should be allowed to collect in ditches or other open spaces to prevent mosquito breeding.
- Sprinkling of kerosene oil in ditches or other open spaces where water gets collected.
- Antimalarial drugs to be taken.
Transmission can occur if a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. There are four kinds of malarial parasites that can infect humans: Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum.
P. falciparum causes a more severe form of the disease and those who contract this form have a higher risk of death. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her baby at birth. This is known as congenital malaria.
Transmitted by blood, so it can also be transmitted through:
- an organ transplant
- a transfusion
- use of shared needles or syringes
Your doctor will be able to diagnose malaria. During your appointment, your doctor will review your health history, including any recent travel to tropical climates. A physical exam will also be performed.
Your doctor will be able to determine if you have an enlarged spleen or liver. If you have malarial symptoms , your doctor may order additional blood tests to confirm your diagnosis.
These malarial tests will show:
- whether you have malaria
- what type of malaria you have
- if your infection is caused by a parasite that’s resistant to certain types of drugs
- if the disease has caused anemia
- if the disease has affected your vital organs
Treatment aims to eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the bloodstream. Those without symptoms may be treated for infection to reduce the risk of disease transmission in the surrounding population. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat uncomplicated malaria. Artemisinin is derived from the plant Artemisia annua, better known as sweet wormwood. It rapidly reduces the concentration of Plasmodium parasites in the bloodstream.
Practitioners often combine ACT with a partner drug. ACT aims to reduce the number of parasites within the first 3 days of infection, while the partner drugs eliminate the rest.
Expanding access to ACT treatment worldwide has helped reduce the impact of malaria, but the disease is becoming increasingly resistant to the effects of ACT. In places where malaria is resistant to ACT, treatment must contain an effective partner drug. The WHO has warned that no alternatives to artemisinin are likely to become available for several years.
Research to develop safe and effective global vaccines for this disease is ongoing, with the licensing of one vaccine already having occurred in Europe. No vaccine is yet licensed in the U.S.
Some generally asked questions
Q1. How do you identify malaria parasites on blood smears?
Malaria parasites can be identified by examining under the microscope a drop of the patient’s blood, spread out as a “blood smear” on a microscope slide. Prior to examination, the specimen is stained (most often with the Giemsa stain) to give the parasites a distinctive appearance.
Q2. What is the relationship between malaria and sickle cell disease?
It is believed that the current prevalence of malaria in endemic areas reflects selection for the carrier form of sickle cell trait through a survival advantage. Malaria has been incriminated as a great cause of mortality in people with sickle cell disease (SCD).
Q3. What is the name of malaria medicine?
Aryl aminoalcohol compounds: quinine, quinidine, chloroquine, amodiaquine, mefloquine, halofantrine, lumefantrine, piperaquine, tafenoquine. 2. Antifolate compounds (“antifols”): pyrimethamine, proguanil, chlorproguanil, trimethoprim.
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