- by Medikoe Health Expert
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- Feb 09 2017
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once the parasite reached our body, they travel to the liver when they get mature. Then the matured parasites entered the bloodstream and begin to infect red blood cells and within 48 to 72 hours the parasite multiply and causes the infected cells burst open. Some malaria parasites remain in the liver and are not released until later, resulting in recurrence.
There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans.
P. falciparum is found in African Continent and is responsible for most malaria-related deaths globally.
P. vivax is found in most countries outside of sub- Saharan Africa.
P. ovale is found in Africa and the Pacific islands.
P. malariae is found worldwide and it can cause a chronic infection.
P. knowlesi is found throughout Southeast Asia and it can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection.
Currently, there is no vaccine for use in the United States (U.S.), although one is available in Europe. Malaria was eliminated from the U.S. in the early 1950s, but 1,500 to 2000 cases still occur each year.
Symptoms of malaria can be described in two categories:
The most common symptoms are fever and chills, headaches, nausea and vomiting, weakness and body aches. The classic description of malaria attack would be a 6-12 hour period of cold and shivering alternating with fever and headaches and then a stage of sweating and tiredness.
2.Complicated or severe malaria
This occurs when different body systems are affected by malaria. Its symptoms include, severe anemia, kidney failure, cerebral malaria- seizures, unconsciousness, abnormal behaviour, cardiovascular collapse, low blood sugar in pregnant sugar.
Diagnosis and tests
Anyone showing signs of malaria should be tested immediately. Microscopic laboratory testing or a Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) should be used for the confirmation of parasite.
Treatment and prevention
Treatment aims to abolish the Plasmodium parasite from the patient's bloodstream.
Those without symptoms may be treated for infection to reduce the risk of disease transmission in the surrounding population.
Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) is used to treat uncomplicated malaria.
Artemisinin is derived from the plant Artemisia annua also known as sweet wormwood. It is known for its ability to rapidly reduce the concentration of Plasmodium parasites in the bloodstream.
ACT is artemisinin combined with a drug. The role of artemisinin is to reduce the number of parasites within the first 3 days of infection, while the partner drugs eliminate the rest. ACT has reduced the effects of malaria worldwide but now in some places malaria is resistant to ACT.
Vaccines against malaria
RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) – also known as Mosquirix – is an injectable vaccine that provides partial protection against malaria in young children. The vaccine is being evaluated in sub-Saharan Africa as a complementary malaria control tool that potentially could be added to the core package of WHO-recommended preventive, diagnostic and treatment measures.
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