Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Malaria : Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Malaria is a mosquito born infectious disease caused by single-celled parasites that can be transmitted by an infected female anopheles mosquito. Those parasites, referred to as plasmodia, belong to at least 5 species. Maximum human infections are caused by either plasmodium falciparum or plasmodium vivax.

The risk of disease can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by the use of mosquito nets and insect repellents. Several medications are available to prevent malaria where the disease is common. Despite a need, no effective vaccine is generated, although efforts to develop one are on the go. The parasites travel to the liver where they meet and reproduce. The presence of malaria in an area requires a combination of high human population density and high rates of transmission from mosquitoes to humans.

The signs and symptoms of malaria begin 8-25 days after infection. The common symptom of having malaria is Paroxysm- a phenomena occurrence of sudden coldness followed by fever occurring every 2 days. Individuals with celebral malaria frequently exhibits neurological symptoms.

Malaria has different serious complications. One of them is the development of respiratory distress which occurs in up to 25% of adults and 40% of children. Malaria in pregnant women is an important cause of infant mortality, abortion and low birth weight.

Malaria is generally confirmed by the antigen based rapid diagnostic tests. It is used to differentiate between the symptoms by which malaria is caused, it can be plasmodium falciparum or by other species of parasites. Microscopy is the most commonly used method to detect the malarial parasite.

There are a number of medicines that can help prevent malaria in public places where infection is common. Many of these medications are also used in treatment. Chloroquine may be used where chloroquine-resistant parasites are not common. The protective effect does not begin immediately, and people visiting areas where malaria exists usually start taking the drugs one to two weeks before arriving and continue taking them for four weeks after leaving.

A non chemical vector control technique involves genetic manipulation of the malarial mosquitoes. Advancement in genetic engineering technologies make it possible to introduce foreign DNA into the genes of mosquito and either decrease the life span of mosquito. Sterile insect technique is a method for controlling genes in which large numbers of infertile male mosquitoes are reared and released.

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