It’s World Malaria Day!
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease, which is caused by a plasmodium parasite. When a mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the hosts liver, before infecting and destroying their red blood cells. Malaria is a serious disease, and in some cases, it can be fatal. Malaria is transmitted by blood, which means it can also occur through a blood transfusion or an organ transplant.
Facts About Malaria:
- Malaria is caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
- Nearly half of the worlds population are at risk of suffering from Malaria.
- Children under 5, who live in areas with high transmission of Malaria, are at risk of getting it.
- Since 2010, Malaria mortality has decreased globally by 29%, among all age groups, and 35% among children under 5 years old.
- Early diagnosis and prompt treatment of Malaria prevents death.
- Sleeping under insecticide treated mosquito nets protects you against Malaria.
- Indoor residual spraying is the most effective way to rapidly reduce Malaria transmission.
- Pregnant women are at risk of Malaria. Those who live in moderate to high transmission areas.
- Malaria causes signification economic losses in high burden countries.
- Malaria is a life threatening disease.
- On average, approximately 219 million people catch Malaria every year.
- 40% of the worlds population lives in Malaria risk zones.
There are many different types of Plasmodia parasites, but only five types cause Malaria:
- P.falciparum – the deadliest species of Plasmodium
- P.vivax – The most frequent and widely distributed parasite that causes Malaria
- P.knowlesi – This parasite causes Malaria in animals, but it can also cause Malaria in humans too.
Uncomplicated Symptoms of Malaria:
- A sensation of cold with shivering
- Fever, vomiting and headaches
- Seizures, sometimes with younger people
- Sweats, followed by the return of normal temperature
Sever Symptoms of Malaria:
- Fever and chills
- Impaired consciousness
- Prostration or adopting a prone position
- Multiple convulsions
- Deep breathing and respiratory distress
- Abnormal bleeding and signs of Anaemia
- Vital organ dysfunction
Symptoms usually don’t occur for between 7 and 18 days after being infected.
Malaria is usually more severe in pregnant women, babies, young children and the elderly. Pregnant women are advised to not travel to areas who are at risk of Malaria.
Malaria can cause serious complications-
- Severe anaemia- where your red blood cells cannot carry enough oxygen around the body, leading to weakness and drowsiness.
- Cerebral Malaria- where the small blood vessels leading to the brain can become blocked, causing seizures, brain damage, and coma.
Treatment for malaria:
Antimalrial medication is used to prevent and treat Malaria. The type of medication and the length of treatment will depend on:
- The type of Malaria
- How severe your symptoms are
- Where you caught Malaria
- If you have already had prevention medication
- If you are pregnant
Preventing Malaria- ABCD
- Awareness of risk- Find out if you are at risk of malaria before travelling
- Bite prevention- Use insect repellent to avoid bites, all over arms and legs
- Check- See if you need to take malaria prevention tablets
- Diagnosis- Seek medical advice if you develop any Malaria symptoms