Malaria is a blood illness caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. It is still widely prevalent in tropical and underdeveloped countries, with high morbidity and mortality rates.
The parasite Plasmodium causes this disease, which is transmitted by a mosquito bite and travels and stays in the blood and the liver of the infected individual. It can also be transmitted by infected blood via blood transfusions, sharing needles, and during pregnancy.
Risk factors for malaria include:
- Areas endemic with malaria (African countries, Asian subcontinent, Solomon islands etc.)
- Young children and infants
- Pregnant women and unborn children
Malarial infection is characterized by the recurrent experience of the following symptoms:
- Moderate to severe shaking chills
- High fever which comes and goes in a pattern
Other symptoms are:
- Generalized body pain
These symptoms usually start after a few weeks of the mosquito bite. In some strains of Plasmodium, however, the parasite can lay dormant in the body and display symptoms later.
Complications of severe forms of malaria include:
- Cerebral malaria
- Pulmonary edema
- Organ failure
- Hypoglycemia and other side effects of malaria medication
Diagnosis of this disease requires blood tests to determine the presence of an infection and to figure out the type of parasite.
The treatment of this disease is depeeennndent on the type of parasite present, and the age and severity of the infection of the patient. Antimalarial drugs include:
- Quinine sulfate