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Home » Medical » Diseases » General » Malaria

Malaria

Malaria is an Infectious disease caused by the parasite called "Plasmodium". It is transmitted from a person to another by the infected bites of female mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect Red Blood Cells. The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. Male mosquitoes do not transmit the infection because male mosquitoes are not developed for biting and cannot pierce the skin.

Malaria may pose a serious threat to a pregnant woman and her pregnancy. Malaria infection in pregnant women may be more severe than in women who are not pregnant. Malaria may also increase the risk of problems with the pregnancy, including pre-maturity, abortion, and stillbirth.

Other possible Complications due to Malaria:

  • Destruction of blood cells 
  • Liver failure / kidney failure 
  • Meningitis 
  • Rupture of the spleen and subsequent massive hemorrhage


Alternative Names of Malaria are: Quartan Malaria; Falciparum Malaria; Biduoterian Fever; Blackwater Fever; Tertian Malaria; Plasmodium

Malaria is a particular problem and a major one in areas of Asia, Africa, and Central and South America. Unless precautions are taken, anyone living in or traveling to a country where malaria is present can get the disease.

Causes of Malaria
The incubation period for malaria varies considerably. An incubation period is the time between the mosquito bite and the time symptoms of malaria begin to appear. The incubation period differs depending on the kind of parasite involved. There are following causes of Malaria:

  • Female mosquitoes that carry the plasmodium parasite in their bodies transmit malaria. 
  • Rainfall is the leading cause of malaria epidemics as it creates high mosquito population.
  • If the mosquito bites infected person then bites uninfected person then it may transfer those parasites to the uninfected person.
  • It can also be transmitted through blood transfusions.

Signs & Symptoms of Malaria
An infected person has symptoms begin 10 days to 4 weeks after being bitten by a malaria-infected mosquito. Malaria often produces flu-like symptoms including:

  • Fever 
  • Shaking Chills 
  • Headache 
  • Muscle Aches 
  • Tiredness

Other symptoms may include fatigue, nausea, and vomiting. Periods of latency may last several weeks or months. The disease has a tendency to relapse and is characterized by the enlargement of the spleen and secondary anemia.

However in some cases, symptoms mentioned above may not appear. Since infection of any kind leads to fever, during epidemics, it is better to test all fever for malaria in a laboratory under the microscope.

Diagnosis of Malaria
Malaria can be diagnosed with a blood test. Blood tests sometimes need to be repeated after a seventy-two-hour period to confirm the diagnosis.

Exams and Tests
During a physical examination, the doctor may identify an enlarged liver and an enlarged spleen.

Preventions of Malaria
To get not infected from Malaria, First of all, a person should avoid being bitten by a mosquito carrying the malaria parasite. For that purpose some preventive measures need to be followed.

  • Avoid travel to or through countries where malaria occurs (If possible). If you must go to areas where malaria occurs, take the prescribed preventive medicine.
  • Have screens over cover windows and doors.
  • Sleeping inside mosquito nets and use mosquito repellents of various forms.
  • Spray mosquito repellents on clothing to prevent mosquitoes from biting through thin clothing.
  • Staying indoors in well-screened areas between dusk and dawn.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and long pants especially when you are outdoors.

Number of mosquitoes in and around the place of residence must be controlled. Public awareness building and joint effort in controlling mosquito population can be very effective way to prevent this disease.

Treatments of Malaria
Treatment of Malaria depends on the following factors:

  • Type of infection. 
  • Severity of infection. 
  • Status of the host. 
  • Associated conditions/ diseases.

Treatment Includes:

  • Anti-malarial drugs can be prescribed to people traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent. Malaria can be treated with drugs. However, treatment is complicated because each type of malaria requires a different drug.
  • Quinine is an effective in treating some forms of malaria, but other parasites have developed a resistance to quinine.
  • If quinine is not effective, then a modified form of quinine known as chloroquine can also be used.

Patients with very serious cases of malaria may require hospitalization and special treatments. Call your health care provider if you develop fever and headache after visiting the tropics.

Myths of Malaria
It is important to separate Myths from Facts when protecting yourself from a deadly disease such as malaria.

Myth: The person needs not to take any precautions if he/she hardly ever get bitten and barely react to mosquito bites
Fact: The fact is that everyone's bodies react differently to mosquito bites. Mosquito bite is no indication of whether you have been bitten by a malaria-carrying mosquito. It only takes one bite to contract malaria. So, precautions are better than cure.

Myth: Use of Garlic, Vitamin B and Ultrasound devices will protect against malaria.
Fact: There is no evidence that use of given things will protect you from mosquito bite. 

Myth: Eating Savory yeast extract spread will prevent malaria.
Fact: It is also not proven that eating savory yeast extract will prevent you from getting malaria. 

Myth: Staying in a four or five star hotel, will stop mosquito bite
Fact: Mosquitoes can be everywhere and you are not aware that which mosquito is carrying virus with them. 

Myth: Drinking alcohol like gin and tonic can stop mosquito bite
Fact: Drinking of alcohol will not prevent you from getting bitten from malaria mosquito.

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