What is malaria? Learn all about the types of this mosquito-borne disease, its spread, prevention and treatment

Malaria is a vector-borne disease. Mosquito bites make infectious parasites in the blood of humans.

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Mosquito bites may not be as harmless as they seem. Just because we tolerate the painful, allergenic bites of insects doesn’t mean our bodies may not be immune to the ravages of microorganisms brought on by the bite. Beyond the chills and fever that malaria causes, if left untreated, this infection can lead to death.

Malaria symptoms:

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illnesses including chills, headache, muscle aches and fatigue. Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria can cause anemia and jaundice (yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes) due to loss of red blood cells.

What causes malaria infection?

Malaria is caused by parasites that enter your body through the bite of an infected mosquito. This sometimes deadly disease occurs in hot and humid places, like Africa, or tropical countries like Vietnam, Philippines, Thailand, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Malaysia, India, etc. According to the Cleveland Clinic, the disease is rare in the United States, with about 2,000 cases per year.

The history of malaria:

Malaria is an ancient disease and references to what was almost certainly malaria are found in a Chinese document from around 2700 BC, clay tablets from Mesopotamia from 2000 BC, Egyptian papyri from 1570 BC and Hindu texts dating back to the sixth century BC, reports a research paper published by BioMed Central – BMC SPringer Nature.

How do you get a malaria infection?

Malaria is caused by infection with protozoan parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium transmitted by female mosquitoes of the Anopheles species. When a mosquito bites someone who has malaria, the mosquito becomes infected. When this mosquito bites someone else, it transfers a parasite into the other person’s blood. There, the parasites multiply. There are five types of malaria parasites that can infect humans.

Dr. Hari Kishan Boorugu, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals Hyderabad – says: “Malaria is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. Unlike the Aedes mosquito which transmits dengue fever, the Anopheles mosquito feeds mainly at night and requires dirty water collections to multiply, so we have been able to reduce Malaria incidence is widespread in urban areas, but in rural areas and slums, malaria is still common due to the threat of mosquitoes.

Dr. Hari Kishan Boorugu

Dr. Hari Kishan Boorugu, Consultant Physician and Diabetologist, Yashoda Hospitals – Hyderabad.

How is malaria diagnosed?

Malaria can be easily diagnosed with simple blood smear tests and there are rapid on-card blood tests (similar to urine pregnancy kits), says Dr. Hari Kishan Boorugu.

What medicines will the doctor use to treat malaria?

Malaria can become fatal if not treated in time. This is why it is necessary to start treating malaria as early as possible. Your doctor will prescribe medicine to kill the malaria parasite. Some parasites are resistant to malaria drugs. Some drugs are given in combination with other drugs. There is no single treatment for all types of malaria infection. The type of parasite will determine what kind of medicine you take and how long you take it.

How to prevent malaria infection?

Since the vector responsible for this disease is the mosquito, precautions should also be taken to avoid mosquito bites.

  1. Apply insect repellent to the exposed part of your skin.
  2. Drape or tie a mosquito net over the beds.
  3. Put screens on windows and doors to keep pests out.
  4. Spray an insect repellent called permethrin on clothing, mosquito nets, tents, sleeping bags and other fabrics.
  5. Wear long pants and long sleeves to cover your skin.
  6. Wear lighter colored clothes. Researchers at the University of Washington have found that mosquitoes are more attracted to the following colors: black, aqua, red and orange. The black is due to the environments they like to be in.

Interesting facts about malaria and research:

For over 2500 years the idea that malarial fevers were caused by miasma from swamps persisted and it is widely accepted that the word malaria comes from the Italian malaria meaning looking spoiled although this has been disputed. Humanity’s understanding of malaria parasites really began in 1880 with the discovery of parasites in the blood of malaria patients by Alphonse Laveran.

Link of malaria research with India:

In 1897, Ronald Ross, working in India, discovered that culicine mosquitoes transmitted the avian malaria parasite Plasmodium relictum and suggested that human malaria parasites could also be transmitted by mosquitoes. Later, while working in Sierra Leone in 1899, he demonstrated that human malaria parasites were indeed transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. In the meantime, however, several Italian scientists had already shown that this was the case. The most important discovery made by Ross, and one that is often overlooked, was that a blood-sucking insect could not only absorb infectious organisms from an infected individual, but also transmit them later when feeding on them. an uninfected host. this was completely contrary to popular opinion at the time.

Disclaimer: The tips and suggestions mentioned in the article are for general information purposes only and should not be construed as professional medical advice. Always consult your doctor or dietitian before starting any fitness program or making any changes to your diet.

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