What is Malaria?
Malaria can be describe as an infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the sting of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion.
Malaria is a significant global problem. There are approximately 216 million cases of the disease worldwide, killing about 655,000 people every year. Malaria is prevalent in Africa, Asia, the Middle East, Central South America, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Oceania (Papua New Guinea, Irian Jaya, and the Solomon Islands).
Causes of Malaria;
You can only get infected by malaria if you’re bitten by an infected mosquito, or if you receive infected blood from someone during a blood transfusion. Malaria can also be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy.
The mosquitoes that carry Plasmodium parasite get it from biting a person or animal that’s already been infected. The parasite then goes through various changes that enable it to infect the next creature the mosquito bites. Once it’s in you, it multiplies in the liver and changes again, getting ready to infect the next mosquito that bites you. It then enters the bloodstream and invades red blood cells. Eventually, the infected red blood cells burst. This sends the parasites throughout the body and causes symptoms of malaria.
Malaria has been with us long enough to have changed our genes. The reason why many people of African descent suffer from the blood disease sickle cell anemia is because the gene that causes it also confers some immunity to malaria. In Africa, people with a sickle cell gene are more likely to survive and have children. The same is true of thalassemia, a hereditary disease found in people of Mediterranean, Asian, or African American descent.
Types of Infected Mosquitos;
The Symptoms of Malaria include;
- cycles of chills
- lost of appetites of any kind of food
- muscle aches
- headache that recur every few days
- coughing, and
- yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and eyes
Note: Some one with severe falciparum malaria can develop bleeding problems, shock, kidney and liver failure, central nervous system problems, coma, and die.
The Treatment of Malaria;
The treatment of malaria is with oral or intravenous medications, including chloroquine, mefloquine (Larium), or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone).
How to Prevent Malaria (Mosquito bites);
(1.) Avoid dark colours – mosquitoes are not attracted to light colours;
(2.) Impregnate clothing with permethrin solution. This should be carried out using a bucket or plastic bag according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Mosquito nets can also be treated in this way (Auerbach et al, 1999). This treatment works well with cotton clothing and it can be washed up to five times after being impregnated with the solution. It is recommended that the clothing is not worn in direct contact with the skin (Caumes, 2000);
(3.) Use a spray containing permethrin on clothing. Clothes should be sprayed inside and out for 30-60 seconds and allowed to dry for two to four hours before being worn (Caumes, 2000);
(4.) Apply insect repellents regularly in cream, spray or gel form that contain diethyltoluamide (DEET).
(5.) Sleep under a net impregnated with permethrin.
(6.) Use coils and mats impregnated with insecticide in closed rooms to repel the mosquitoes.
(7.) Keep the Environment clean and avoid stagnant water around the house or/and Environment.
(8.) Government should help by creating channel for water to move out.
Malaria is a very deadly disease which any one should not over-look. If you are free from it, and you want to continue being free then go to any near by hospital for vaccine administration every 3 -4 months.
But for those who are already infected should take good care of them self.
Government should ensure that Malaria drugs are available is all the hospitals. The Government should also increase support on malaria treatment and prevention programme mostly in the rural areas.
Article written by NWABUZOR CHUKWUEMEKA (2013)