Malaria is the infectious disease caused by the bite of infected anopheles mosquitoes. The mosquitoes transmit the protozoan parasite of the genus plasmodium type into our bodies through blood. It is the parasitic infectious disease characterized by frequent feverish waves and headaches.
There are five species of malarial parasites seen in this world. They are as follows
Among the above five plasmodium parasites types P.FALCIPARIUM is the most prevailing type across the world.
Malaria parasite life cycle:
Once the infected anopheles mosquito bites the normal person the protozoan parasite called SPOROZOITES enters the blood stream and directed to the liver.
In the liver it multiplies asexually into millions and releases or yielded as MEROZOITES. This enters the blood stream escaping from the liver to infect the red blood cells. Furthermore fresh red blood cells are infected by multiplication of MEROZOITES.
This parasite hides from the immune system in the liver and red blood cells and shows the illness and complications. Some MEROZOITES instead of replicating it divides sexually into gametocytes and circulate in the blood stream. Anopheles mosquitoes intake these gametocytes from the infected man and convert it into SPOROZOITES. THE CYCLE CONTINUES.
Signs and symptoms of malaria:
The sign and symptoms of malaria are not seen immediately after the invasion of the parasites. It takes time to about one week to even months to show the symptoms. Commonly seen symptoms are as follows
- Frequent fever waves are seen rapidly.
- Persistent chill feeling with shaking
- Severe headaches.
- Fatigue (tired).
- Dull pain in the muscles
- Excessive sweat.
The diagnosis method is of two types, one is the clinical and other is laboratory diagnosis. For clinical diagnosis the history, symptoms and clinical features of the patient is accessed.
In the laboratory diagnosis it has various tests to be conducted as follows.
In the microscopy testing the blood drop sample of the suspected person is collected and spread as the blood smear. The blood smear is dipped in reagent for staining the malaria parasite. Under microscope with the magnification it provides the parasites are identified and infected red blood cells appearance is clearly visible. It can show both the sexual and asexual stages of parasite.
Rapid antigen detection test:
This is very costly method in detecting malaria. This test involves the polymerase chain reaction to show the parasites nucleic acid. Here the test is done with some kits. It doesn’t show the sexual and asexual stages of the parasites.
Treatment for malaria:
The treatment varies according to the infecting plasmodium species, condition of the infected person drug susceptibility of the parasite, other condition affecting the patients, area of infection obtained and pregnancy.
The drugs used will be determined only by the experienced doctors as to match with the type of species plasmodium infecting. Common drugs are
Few drugs are used in combination to have better effect.
Among all the types plasmodium FALCIPARUM is the most dangerous and can lead to death if untreated immediately. Even some cases have difficulty in taking oral medications in severe FALCIPARUM cases. In such cases treatment is continued by intravenous infusion.
Methods of prevention:
- Try to live in a clean environment.
- Try to be protected from the mosquito bites.
- Checking blood for infection before transfusion.
- Using mosquito repellent creams to stay away from them.
- Avoiding travel to malaria prevalent area by pregnant mother.
- Proper precautions against the infection while travelling to prevalent areas.
Malaria is one of the deadly diseases in the world. It is easily treatable and curable disease. In severe cases with no immediate treatment death is the only result. It needs proper and suitable treatments. Malaria awareness is required all over the world. Awareness prevents malaria.