What Do You Know About Malaria

Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a group of malaria parasites, namely Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium ovale, and plasmodium malariae. It is commonly found in many parts of tropical and sub-tropical areas where the climate is warm, like Africa, South-East Asia and South America.

Symptoms of malaria include intermittent fever, chills, sweating, headache, tiredness, nausea, vomiting and muscle pain. In typical cases, the fever comes, then subsides for 1-3 days and then comes again in a cyclical pattern. Complications include anaemia, liver and kidney failure, eizures,mental confusion,coma,and death if disease is not treated promptly.

Malaria is a vector-borne communicable disease transmitted by an infected female Anopheline mosquito. When the mosquito bites a malaria patient, the mosquito becomes infected and will pass on the disease when it bites another person. Malaria is not transmitted from person to person. However, malaria can be transmitted through contaminated blood or blood product transfusion, organ transplant, or shared needles or syringes. Malaria may also be transmitted from a mother to her foetus/newborn baby before or during delivery.

The incubation period varies with different species of Plasmodium. This usually ranges from 7-30 days but may be up to months or even longer after the bite of an infected Anopheline mosquito.

There are effective drugs against malaria but early diagnosis and prompt treatment are crucial. The doctor would prescribe a course of anti-malaria drugs with other supportive measures. The patient should complete the whole course of medication to ensure clearance of the malaria parasites.

Prevention
1.Make measures to avoid mosquito bite.
2. There are currently no licensed vaccines against malaria.
3. Malaria infection during pregnancy can have adverse effects on both the mother and the foetus. Therefore,pregnant women should not visit malarious areas unless this is absolutely necessary.

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