Malaria can be fatal disease wherein patient experiences severe headache, fever and low immunity power. Bite of infected female anopheles mosquito causes malaria. An infected mosquito carries plasmodium parasite.
There are total 5 types of plasmodium parasites- Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, plasmodium malariae, plasmodium ovale and plasmodium knowlesi. These parasites are released into the bloodstream when infected mosquito bites. Parasites mature in liver and after several days enter into bloodstream where they start affecting red blood cells. Within 2-3 days, parasites begin to multiply and harm whole body.
Malaria is basically caused by bite of plasmodium parasite infected female anopheles mosquito. When another mosquito bites infected person, it becomes infected with parasite for lifetime and can spread malaria through its bite. It can also be passed down by infected mother to her baby. The primary mode of transmission of malaria is through blood. Hence, it can be transmitted by organ implant, blood transfusion and infected syringes and other medical tools.
Plasmodium is a type of parasite. Parasites are organisms that live inside the body of host (another organism) and derive nutrients from the host's body. Infected female anopheles mosquito acts as a malaria vector. There are total five species of parasites responsible for malaria in human beings out of which two species- P. falciparum and P. vivax pose maximum threat.
Cerebral malaria occurs when parasite infected blood blocks capillaries or small blood vessels supplying blood to brain. This can result in damage and swelling of the brain. It can be life-threatening and person may enter state of coma.
Symptoms of malaria can be severe and start to show within 10 days to four weeks of infection. Some patients may not even develop symptoms for longer duration of time as plasmodium parasite can remain dormant or inactive for long interval. If these symptoms are not treated, malaria can become a life-threatening disease. Hence, it is important not to ignore these symptoms. Some common symptoms of malaria have been enlisted below:
Incubation period is the duration between getting infected by parasite and exhibiting symptoms. Incubation period for different types of plasmodium parasites are as follows:
If you have been suffering from symptoms of malaria for more than a week, consult a doctor without any further delay. Early diagnosis will make your treatment easier and save your money.
Treatment for malaria depends on type of malaria causing parasite. There have been reports that some parasites have become resistant to drugs. Thus, increase in plasmodium parasite's resistance to medications has proved most of the medications ineffective.
Doctor may combine two or more treatments to cure malaria. There are no vaccinations against malaria, but research for developing one is going on. However, most of the cases of malaria are treated by using medications such as :
All the medications suggested by doctor have to be compulsorily taken on time and in exact proportion either with water or milk. Unless and until you have difficulty in swallowing tablets, do not crush tablets. Malarone tablet can be crushed into small pieces and mixed with condensed milk or water just before consuming it.
Treatment of malaria is subjected to number of factors that determine intensity of the disease. If more than one species of malaria causing parasites are found in blood sample, doctor will use multiple medications to cure it. This will prolong recovery time. Usually, it takes approximately two weeks of treatment to cure malaria.
No, malaria is a non-contagious disease. It cannot be transmitted by the medium of air and water and by touching. The only way it can be transmitted between human beings is through blood transfusion. If infected blood is transfused into the body of a healthy human being, blood of healthy person becomes contaminated with parasites and that person suffers from malaria.
Malaria can be prevented if you follow certain precautions. These precautions are mentioned below:
Areas that are more prone to malaria are:
Approximately, 20%-30% of population residing in these areas are infected by malaria. Even tourists who visit these places are at high risk of contracting malaria and hence, should consult with doctor before traveling to these areas. One may use antimalarial tablets and sprays and wear long clothing when visiting above mentioned places.
Malaria is a non-contagious disease. Hence, every individual should ensure that he takes necessary precautions to protect himself and his community members from malaria. Some tips to reduce spread of malaria are:
Children under the age of five years are more vulnerable to malaria. In areas where there is high risk of malaria, children usually acquire partial immunity towards the disease.
Children are more vulnerable to malaria as their resistance or immunity power is not too strong. To avoid malaria in children, they have to abstained from getting bitten by mosquitoes. If you are taking your child to parks or mosquito prone area, make sure you apply mosquito repellent cream to his exposed parts. Wear full length clothing for maximum protection. If in case there is a need for blood transfusion, parents must ensure that the donated blood is free of any parasites. Malaria can spread only through the medium of blood. Hence, mandatory precaution has to be taken.
Diagnostic tests to determine presence of malaria causing parasite may start from average INR 350. Cost of the test greatly varies depending on severity of the disease. Malaria test price is in the range of INR 200 to INR 700. For more information about cost of malaria test, click here.
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