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What Is Malaria?
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What is Malaria?

Malaria is a life threatening disease caused by parasites called plasmodium. They are then transmitted to people by the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes.

The malaria parasites enter the blood stream and affect the red blood cells. Red blood cells are a vital part of the body’s circulatory system and they carry the oxygen that help our bodies function. The red blood cells have hemoglobin which binds the oxygen and carries it to the brain and muscles the body’s vital organs. The destroyed red blood cells then lead to symptoms of malaria.

What are the symptoms of Malaria?

The symptoms generally occur within a week from infection. The symptoms from the most common malaria parasite, plasmodium falciparum is 7 – 14 days. The symptoms take longer to manifest where one has taken malaria prevention medicine or has previously been infected and taken medication for treatment which increases their immunity. Symptoms could be similar to those for other diseases caused by bacteria, viruses or other parasites. The most common malaria symptoms are muscle or back ache, fatigue, nausea, headaches and sweating.

Symptoms of severe malaria in children include severe anemia due to low blood hemoglobin, low blood sugar, respiratory distress and cerebral malaria. Children are the most affected by malaria as they lack or have low immunity. Cerebral malaria is a very severe form of malaria in both adults and children whose symptoms include; fever, altered state of consciousness, neurological symptoms and coma.

The impact of malaria depends on various factors such as the environment and the particular parasite. If one is in a malaria infested area and has not developed immunity, they most likely could be infected. Anyone leaving or traveling to a country where malaria is endemic is prone to catching the disease.

The four common species of parasites that cause malaria are:

  1. Plasmodium falciparum
  2. Plasmodium vivax
  3. Plasmodium malarea
  4. Plasmodium ovale

Falciparum and vivax are the most common species. Falciparum is the most serious one which is life threatening and the other three are less serious. It is possible could be infected by more than one species.

There are 2 million malaria deaths per year worldwide most of them being children below the age of 5. There are 400 million cases per year. The best available treatment, particularly for plasmodium falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy commonly known as (ACT). Resistance to antimalarial medicines is a recurring problem undermining malaria control efforts and reversing gains in the war against malaria for the survival of humanity.


Street Talk

Hi Geoffrey. After living in a mamaria area for many years I found I was ineligible to donate blood for many years. It's a scary disease. Good article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Hi Lisa Thank you very much for your positive comment on my article. Malaria is a serous disease particularly in Africa. It kills and deforms the blood cells and that is why you could not donate blood.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I did not know this was spread by a mosquito

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Hi Shawn, My wish to you is a very good morning and the next parts of the day. Malaria is a serious disease particularly Africa and is spread by mosquitoes. Thank you very much for your comment on my article

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Very good and informative article...

Reply
  about 6 years ago

Thank you very much Luka4 for your positive comment on my article.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

It would help to have the malaria parasite inactivated--it would be easier than wiping out all the mosquitoes since so many birds and fish use them for food.

Reply
  about 6 years ago

I salute you Sheri for your comment on my article. As long as the mosquito does not spread malaria, I think no body would have a problem with it . Mosquitoes are usually noted negatively but may be they may have a better use than being a diet for for fish and birds. A mosquito is a very hated species particularly in Africa. Thank you very much

Reply
  about 6 years ago
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