ABSTRACT – Malaria is a parasite-mosquito borne blood disease caused by Female Anopheles wherein the parasite is transferred in...
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease. The Anopheles mosquito transmits it to humans
The parasites in mosquitos that spread this belong to the Plasmodium genus. Over 100 types of Plasmodium parasite can infect a variety of species. Different types replicate at different rates, changing how quickly the symptoms escalate, and the severity of the disease.
Five types of Plasmodium parasite can infect humans. These occur in different parts of the world. Some cause a more severe type of disease than others.
Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
In some places, early diagnosis can help treat and control disease. However, some countries lack the resources to carry out effective screening.
Currently, no vaccine is available for use in the United States, although one vaccine has a license in Europe.
In the early 1950s, advances in treatment eliminated this disease from the U.S. However, between 1,500 and 2,000 cases still occur each year, mostly in those who have recently traveled to malaria-endemic areas.
Doctors divide symptoms into two categories: Uncomplicated and severe.
The Anopheles mosquito passes on this disease.
It is passed on by the Anopheles mosquito.
A doctor would give this diagnosis when symptoms are present, but no symptoms occur that suggest severe infection or dysfunction of the vital organs.
This form can become severe without treatment, or if the host has poor or no immunity.
Symptoms of uncomplicated malaria typically last 6 to 10 hours and recur every second day.
Some strains of the parasite can have a longer cycle or cause mixed symptoms.
As symptoms resemble those of flu, they may remain undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in areas where this disease is less common.
In uncomplicated malaria, symptoms progress as follows, through cold, hot, and sweating stages:
a sensation of cold with shivering
fever, headaches, and vomiting
seizures sometimes occur in younger people with the disease
sweats, followed by a return to normal temperature, with tiredness
In areas where malaria is common, many people recognize the symptoms as malaria and treat themselves without visiting a doctor.
In severe malaria, clinical or laboratory evidence shows signs of vital organ dysfunction.
Symptoms of severe malaria include:
fever and chills
prostration, or adopting a prone position
deep breathing and respiratory distress
abnormal bleeding and signs of anemia
clinical jaundice and evidence of vital organ dysfunction
Severe malaria can be fatal without treatment.
Treatment aims to eliminate the Plasmodium parasite from the bloodstream.
Those without symptoms may be treated for infection to reduce the risk of disease transmission in the surrounding population.
The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) to treat uncomplicated malaria.
Artemisinin is derived from the plant Artemisia annua, better known as sweet wormwood. It rapidly reduces the concentration of Plasmodium parasites in the bloodstream.
Practitioners often combine ACT with a partner drug. ACT aims to reduce the number of parasites within the first 3 days of infection, while the partner drugs eliminate the rest.
Expanding access to ACT treatment worldwide has helped reduce the impact of malaria, but the disease is becoming increasingly resistant to the effects of ACT.
In places where malaria is resistant to ACT, treatment must contain an effective partner drug.
The WHO has warned that no alternatives to artemisinin are likely to become available for several years.
Malaria happens when a bite from the female Anopheles mosquito infects the body with Plasmodium. Only the Anopheles mosquito can transmit malaria.
The successful development of the parasite within the mosquito depends on several factors, the most important being humidity and ambient temperatures.
When an infected mosquito bites a human host, the parasite enters the bloodstream and lays dormant within the liver.
The host will have no symptoms for an average of 10.5 days, but the malaria parasite will begin multiplying during this time.
The liver then releases these new malaria parasites back into the bloodstream, where they infect red blood cells and multiply further. Some malaria parasites remain in the liver and do not circulate til later, resulting in recurrence.
An unaffected mosquito acquires parasites once it feeds on a human with malaria. This restarts the cycle.