Malaria is a parasite that causes this sickness. When infected mosquitoes bite humans, they contract the parasite. A person with malaria typically feels quite poorly, has a high fever, and shakes violently.
Despite being rare in temperate climes, malaria is nevertheless a frequent disease in many tropical and subtropical nations. Every year, the illness infects about 290 million individuals and claims the lives of more than 400,000 people.
The distribution of prophylactic medications and bed nets coated with insecticide by international health programmers protects people from mosquito bites. In nations with high malaria incidence, the WHO has advised the use of malaria vaccinations.
Wearing protective gear, sleeping under a bed net, and applying pesticides can all help you stay safe when travelling. You can also take prophylactic medication prior to, during, and after your vacation if you’re going to a high-risk area. Many parasites that cause malaria have evolved resistance to the common medications used to treat it.
You should be aware of the signs whenever you visit a region where malaria is common. The benefit of this is that you can get medical help right away.
Similar to flu symptoms, they often emerge six to thirty days after a mosquito bite, but they can occasionally continue up to a year.
Malaria symptoms frequently manifest as:
- Fever, elevated body temperature
- muscle cramps or discomfort
- severe anemia
- An aversion to food or diarrhoea
- alterations to awareness
- Breathing problems
- limited output of urine
It can be challenging to initially recognise the minor symptoms that malaria can bring.
Reasons for malaria
Malaria is brought on by a single-celled parasite from the genus Plasmodium. The parasite is most frequently spread to people through mosquito bites.
Cycle of mosquito transmission:
- Mosquito that is not ill. Mosquitoes that feed on malaria sufferers spread the disease.
- The spread of a parasite. If you get bitten by this insect again in the future, you could contract malaria parasites.
- Within the liver. Once they enter your body, some parasite species can remain latent for up to a year.
- Directly into the blood. When red blood cells develop in your liver, they pick up parasites. This is the time when malaria symptoms usually start to appear.
- The next individual is now up. This is the time when malaria parasites can infect uninfected mosquitoes, who can then infect other individuals.
Other forms of communication
Due to the fact that malaria parasites attack red blood cells, people can potentially catch malaria by coming into touch with infected blood:
- The pregnant woman to the unborn
- Utilizing blood transfusions
- sharing of injection needles for drugs
Influences of malaria risk
The greatest risk factor for contracting malaria is living in or travelling to locations where the disease is prevalent. Included are the following tropical and subtropical areas:
- Southern Africa
- Southeast Asia and South Asia
- Hawaiian Islands
- Latin America
- Southern America’s north
Malaria risk varies depending on local malaria control, seasonal variations in malaria incidence, and preventative actions against mosquito bites.
- Risks of more serious illness
- Those with a higher risk of developing severe malaria include:
- toddlers and newborns
- older people
- The traveler hails from an area where there is no malaria.
- pregnant women and their unborn children
In many nations with high incidence of malaria, lack of access to medical care, preventative measures, and information is a serious issue.
How is malaria identified?
The doctor will inquire about your health and do a medical examination of you. If your doctor thinks you might have malaria, they will take a blood sample. This test entails producing blood samples on glass slides and viewing them under a microscope.
It is possible to identify malaria based on the findings of a blood smear test. A doctor can diagnose your condition and determine the kind and quantity of malaria parasites in your blood. This information may have an impact on treatment choices.
If the initial blood test for malaria is negative, further blood tests every 12 to 24 hours may be necessary. There are several blood tests available to quickly diagnose malaria. If the quick test shows malaria, a blood smear is usually required to confirm the diagnosis.
In the first year following your return from a malaria-endemic area, if you have a fever, your doctor might do a malaria test on you. If the tests come back negative for malaria, you might require additional testing to confirm that you are malaria-free.
Testing is continued during therapy to assess effectiveness and track the progression of the illness.
The following additional tests are helpful for determining whether a patient has malaria:
- PCR, or polymerase chain reaction. Here, tests that identify the species of malaria parasite and detect parasite nucleic acids are carried out.
- (CBC) Complete blood count. This procedure could reveal infections or anaemia. Anemia may result from malaria because the parasite harms red blood cells.
- A check of blood sugar. During this examination, the medical professionals measure glucose, a form of blood sugar.
Consequences of Malaria
Certain groups are more susceptible to severe or complex symptoms from malaria, including:
- little children
- expecting mothers
- individuals who have never before been exposed to malaria parasites
Malaria typically has one or more severe side effects, some of which are fatal. Potential issues include:
- If you have malaria, the fluid that builds up in your lungs could make breathing difficult.
- Malaria can lead to organ failure, including splenic rupture, kidney and liver failure, and liver and liver failure.
- Malaria can block tiny blood veins in your brain, a condition known as cerebral malaria, which can cause swelling and perhaps permanent brain damage. A coma or death could result from this illness.
- Damaged red blood cells can prevent adequate oxygen and nutrients from reaching your tissues.
- When a patient has acute malaria, blood glucose levels can drop to dangerously low levels. Quinine not only lowers blood sugar levels but also treats malaria. If your blood sugar levels drop too low, you could pass away or go into a coma.
Vaccines for malaria
Even though it may seem hard to avoid being bitten by a mosquito, there are a number of commonly approved and well-known malaria preventive strategies. Here are a few examples:
Avoidance: Try to stay as far away from places where malaria is common as you can. It might be necessary to alter your travel arrangements, but if you can’t help it, keep reading.
Medication: You can take the typical drugs if you intend to visit a location where malaria is a danger. When requesting a visa, it is typically required to present these.
Personal Protection: In addition to topical creams and lotions, mosquito-repelling sprays and lotions are also available. DEET-containing topical treatments have a track record of successfully warding off insects. Another simple technique to protect yourself is to dress in clothing that covers your arms and legs.
Additional Protection: You can use mosquito netting, as well as install screens on your entryway and windows, to keep mosquitoes out of your sleeping space. Finally, make careful to wash or clean any protective equipment with permethrin-containing products.
Medications for malaria
The following elements, among others, will impact the course of treatment your doctor suggests:
- Which kind of parasite do you possess?
- How severe your symptoms are
- In the following region were you infected:
- You are
- Whether you are expecting
Use of the following drugs may be part of a malaria treatment plan:
Either hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine. If your symptoms are not too severe and you reside in a region where chloroquine has not developed parasite resistance, your doctor might advise one of these medications.
ACT, or combination therapy based on artemisinin. These two medications interact differently and have different effects. They can be used to treat more severe instances of malaria as well as milder cases.
Proguanil-atovaquone with artemether-lumefantrine. The usage of these combinations in regions where the parasite has developed resistance to chloroquine is a result of this resistance. Children are welcome to use them in addition to adults.
According to the most recent studies, if chloroquine is unavailable, this drug may be used in its place. It has been connected, nonetheless, to uncommon but severe brain-related adverse effects.
If you have severe symptoms, the medication might be advised for the first 24 hours of your symptoms, followed by three days of artemisinin-based combination therapy.
Researchers are always hunting for new medications to treat malaria since the parasites have developed resistance to the majority of the medications used to treat the sickness.