Malaria is a mosquito-borne blood disease. This is a serious tropical disease spread by mosquitoes. If the disease is not diagnosed and cured on time, it can be fatal. Malaria can also cause serious complications such as:
- Cerebral malaria – the small blood vessels leading to the brain can become blocked which causes brain damage, seizure, or coma.
- Severe anemia – it is where red blood cells are incapable of carrying enough oxygen around the body which leads to weakness and drowsiness
What causes Malaria?
A single-celled parasite of the genus plasmodium causes Malaria. The parasite is spread to humans most commonly via mosquito bites.
An individual can also catch malaria from exposure to infected blood including:
- By sharing needles used to inject drugs
- Through blood transfusions
- From mother to unborn child
Signs and Symptoms of Malaria
The symptoms of this disease typically develop within 10 days to 4 weeks following the infection. Common signs and symptoms of Malaria include:
- Abdominal pain
- Profuse sweating
- High fever
- Shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
- Bloody stools
- Muscle pain
Risk Factors of Having Malaria
The following are the listed factors of getting the disease:
Areas affected by the disease:
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries, mostly in tropical regions of the world including:
- Central and South America
- Large areas of Africa and Asia
- Haiti and the Dominican Republic
- Some Pacific islands
- Parts of the Middle East
Malaria is not found in the UK. It may be diagnosed in travelers who return to the UK from risk areas.
People who are at risk:
People at increased risk of serious disease include:
- Young children and infants
- Travelers coming from areas with no malaria
- Older adults
- Pregnant women and their unborn children
In several countries with high malaria rates, the problem is worsened by a lack of access to information, preventive measures, and medical care.
Various cases of malaria can be prevented.
- Be aware of your risk – before traveling find out whether you are at risk of getting malaria.
- Bite prevention – prevent mosquito bites by covering your arms and legs, using insect repellent, or using an insecticide-treated mosquito net.
- Diagnosis – search for immediate medical guidance if you develop malaria symptoms, providing up to a year after you return from traveling.
- Check whether you need to take malaria prevention medications – if you do be sure to take the right antimalarial medications at the right dose and finish the course.
- Speak to your doctor if you’re planning to visit a place where there’s a malaria risk. It may be recommended that you take antimalarial medications to prevent infection.
If malaria is diagnosed and treated quickly, it will be easy for someone makes a full recovery. Treatment must be started as soon as the diagnosis has been confirmed.
Antimalarial medication is used to both prevent and treat malaria. The length of treatment will depend on:
- The severity of your symptoms
- The type of malaria
- Whether you’re pregnant
- Whether you took an antimalarial to prevent malaria
- Where you caught malaria
In several cases, you might be given emergency reserve treatment for malaria before you travel. This is frequently if there is a risk of being infected with the disease while traveling in a remote area with little or no access to medical care.
Medications for Malaria