What Is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite that is spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. People who have this disease usually feel very sick with a high fever and shaking chills. This disease is uncommon in temperate climates, but it is still common in tropical and subtropical countries.
Some people who have malaria experience cycles of attacks that you usually start with shivering and chills, followed by a high fever, followed by sweating, and a return to normal temperature. Symptoms include:
It is caused by a single-celled parasite of the genus Plasmodium. The parasite is transmitted to humans most usually through mosquito bites.
Anyone can get malaria, but people who live in Africa have a higher risk of infection than others. There is an increased risk of malaria mortality among young children, the elderly, and pregnant women. The disease is more likely to cause complications in poor people with no access to healthcare. More than 90% of deaths occur in Africa, and almost all of them are children under the age of five.
Your doctor will review your medical history and recent travel, as well as your symptoms. Blood testing is the main diagnostic method to determine the condition. Blood tests can indicate:
This condition is treated with prescription medications that aim to kill the parasite. The length of the treatment period varies on the type of the parasite, the severity of symptoms, and age. In some cases, prescription drugs may not clear the condition due to the resistance of parasites to certain medications. If this happens, your medical provider will recommend other treatments or change the medications to successfully treat your condition.
Chloroquine. It is the preferred treatment for any parasite that is sensitive to the drug. But in many parts of the world, parasites are resistant to chloroquine, and the drug is no longer an effective treatment. Follow your doctor’s recommendation for successful treatment.
If you go somewhere or are traveling to an area where this disease is common, take steps to avoid mosquito bites. Mosquitoes are most active between dusk and dawn. To protect yourself from mosquito bites, you should: