The disease is caused by the Plasmodium parasites which is spread in people through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito, also known as malaria vectors
While there are a total of five parasite species that cause malaria in humans, two of that P falciparum and P vivax pose the greatest threat.
Once a human has been bitten by an infected mosquito, the parasites multiply within the liver before infecting and ultimately destroying, the red blood cells (RBC's).
What are the symptoms of malaria?
Malaria symptoms typically appear 10-15 days after the infected mosquito bite. It initially presents as fever, headache and chills but can be mild, making it hard to diagnose. In children, malaria can result in severe anemia and breathing difficulties, while adults are at risk of multi-organ failure, and both children and adults can die from the disease.
Early symptoms: • High fever (up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit) with shaking chills
• Profuse sweating when the fever suddenly drops
• Muscle aches
• Abdominal discomfort
• Nausea, vomiting
• Feeling faint while standing or sitting up quickly
• Confusion, drowsiness, seizure, coma
• Low blood sugar
• Decreased urine or light yellow brown coloured urine
Diagnosis: Blood tests can be conducted to affirm
• Levels of red blood cells
• Ability of your blood to clot
• Blood chemistry
• Liver function
• Kidney function
People at a higher risk of contracting Malaria: • Infants (children under five years of age)
• Pregnant women
• Patients with HIV/AIDS
• Non-immune migrants
• Mobile populations
• Populations who reside in tropical humid environments
• People who reside in unhygienic conditions, that is, near stale dirty water bodies
Prevention: • Use of mosquito coils
• Mosquito repellents sprayed on skin
• Screening windows and doors
• Mosquito-proof bed nets
• Closed windows during late evenings and early mornings
• Wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeve shirts
• Avoiding dark-coloured clothes
• Using insecticide-treated mosquito nets
• Indoor residual spraying
• Removal of all sources of stagnant water
Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes. About half of the worlds’ population is at risk of malaria, particularly those in lower-income countries. It infects more than 500 million people each year and kills more than one million people. However, Malaria is preventable and curable.