What Is Malaria? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

Malaria is a deadly disease caused by a parasite. It is picked up by some mosquitoes in hot climates.

The parasites that cause malaria attack your red blood cells, usually with a high fever, chills and other symptoms that can lead to life-threatening complications.

Malaria has not been transmitted to the United States since the early 1950s. The disease was effectively eradicated through water management, pesticides, and other treatment and prevention efforts. (2)

But every year there are numerous cases of travelers leaving the United States, contracting infections and returning home.

Occasionally there is a small outbreak of malaria in the United States, when local mosquitoes spread the disease to infected travelers. So far, these episodes have been effectively covered, without the risk of malaria.

Malaria is a major threat to human health worldwide and is the leading cause of illness and death in many developing countries, especially in young children. Pregnant women are also at higher risk.

Most cases of malaria occur in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but the disease also affects many other parts of the world, including Latin America, Southeast Asia and Oceania. (3)

What Causes Malaria?

Malaria occurs when a parasitic protozoa of the genus Plasmodium enters your bloodstream.

Normally, malaria enters your bloodstream through the saliva of a female Anopheles mosquito when it feeds someone else with the disease. (4)

In rare cases, malaria can be transmitted from mother to child during pregnancy, through blood transfusions or organ transplants, or even through joint needles. (5)

There are five types of parasites that cause malaria in humans. One of these Plasmodium infections can be fatal.

P. Falciperum This genus is found in tropical and sub-tropical regions of the world, but it is especially common in Africa.

Falciparum malaria is the deadliest form of malaria because it spreads rapidly to red blood cells. These damaged cells can block small vessels, including your brain.

P. vivax This breed is found mostly in Asia, Latin America and parts of Africa.

P. vivax has an unstable stage in the liver, after which it can attack your blood two years after a mosquito bite, and make you sick again.

This delayed infection (recurrence) can re-introduce malaria in areas of the world where it was previously eradicated.

P. ovale This species is found mostly in Africa and the islands of the western Pacific Ocean. Like P. vivax, it can remain inactive in your liver and cause recurrence months or years later.

P. malaria This species is found all over the world. If left untreated, it can lead to serious complications, such as chronic lifelong infections or nephrotic syndrome, a serious kidney disease.

P.  It can also infect humans and lead to rapid development of severe infections.

Malaria Prevalence

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people, live in areas where malaria is a cause for concern.

Between 2010 and 2016, worldwide efforts successfully reduced the spread of malaria by 18%. The largest regional decline, 48%, occurred in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

But the WHO estimates that there were still 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, resulting in 445,000 deaths.

In alarming growth, malaria cases increased between 2014 and 2016, the largest increase in Latin America.

In 2016, more than 90% of the world’s malaria deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, with the remaining 10% occurring mostly in Asia and Latin America.

Almost all deaths have been caused by P. falciparum and in children under 5 years of age. (7)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1,700 cases of malaria in the United States each year. All of this happens to people who have recently traveled to a country where malaria has spread. (4)

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), half the world’s population, or 3.2 billion people, live in areas where malaria is a cause for concern.

Between 2010 and 2016, worldwide efforts successfully reduced the spread of malaria by 18%. The largest regional decline, 48%, occurred in South Asia and Southeast Asia.

But the WHO estimates that there were still 216 million cases of malaria in 2016, resulting in 445,000 deaths.

In alarming growth, malaria cases increased between 2014 and 2016, the largest increase in Latin America.

In 2016, more than 90% of the world’s malaria deaths occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, with the remaining 10% occurring mostly in Asia and Latin America.

Almost all deaths have been caused by P. falciparum and in children under 5 years of age. (7)

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are approximately 1,700 cases of malaria in the United States each year. All of this happens to people who have recently traveled to a country where malaria has spread. (4)

Malaria Risk Factors

The main risk factors for malaria in travelers include the destination aspect, and some characteristics of the traveler.

Destination risk factors include:

Geographical region The region of the world where malaria is most prevalent (circulating widely) is tropical, subtropical or low altitude.

This is because parasitic maturation inside mosquitoes requires a warmer temperature.

The CDC has a table of malaria information by country where you can view it. Check if there is local malaria in your travel destination.

In general, you run a higher risk if you travel to sub-Saharan Africa than to most parts of Asia or the United States. (3)

The type of housing in which window screens or air-conditioned housing is less risky than open or tenant housing.

If your itinerary includes outdoor food or entertainment, especially in the evening, you are at greater risk. (3)

The hottest times of the year and the wettest times of the year are associated with the transmission of malaria.

One reason for this is that rainwater can accumulate, which can encourage the growth of mosquitoes that spread malaria.

It is possible that during the colder times of the year, if you travel to some areas where malaria is prevalent, you will not need to take maximum precautions. (3)

Risk factors related to passenger type include:

If possible, the trip should be postponed until after birth. Malaria in pregnancy can be life threatening for both mother and baby.

Due to changes in the immune system, pregnant women are more susceptible to P-falciparum, which puts them at greater risk of serious illness and death.

Malaria also increases the risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and weight loss, which reduces the baby’s chances of survival.

If you must travel to an area with a malaria transmission during pregnancy, it is important that you take preven effective preventative medicine to protect yourself and your baby. (3)

Visiting friends and relatives People who are originally from a local area but have moved and then return to visit, the highest risk in this group is malaria in the United States.

Many of these people do not know that they need to take medicine to prevent malaria. Some people think they are exempt from growing in a malaria-affected area, but whenever someone leaves, such immunity wears off quickly.

People who visit friends and relatives, unlike tourists or business travelers, are more likely to spend more time at their destination and stay in private residences rather than hotels. (3)

Military Services People in the military have extensive exposure at night, which makes them prone to malaria. (3)

Prevention of Malaria

There is currently no vaccine available to prevent malaria.

There are medicines that can help prevent the disease if you get an infection, but none of them are 100 percent effective.

It is important to avoid mosquito bites to prevent malaria. Anopheles mosquitoes bite between evening and dawn and sometimes prefer to stay indoors.

Anopheles mosquitoes are among the ways to avoid mosquito bites.

Avoid outdoor exposure between evening and dawn
Wear clothing that minimizes skin
Wear insect repellent clothing that contains DEET
Sleep under a bed net treated with an insecticide (such as permethrin)
Wear treated with permethrin, or spray with permethrin spray (available at outdoor supply stores)
Stay in well-screened or air-conditioned rooms
These measures can also prevent many other diseases spread by mosquitoes, mattresses and sand fish. (3, 4)

Complications of Malaria

When malaria is fatal, the cause is usually. One or more serious complications arise. Possible complications include:

Respiratory issues Malaria can cause fluid to build up in your lungs, causing difficulty breathing.

Organ Failure When you have malaria, your kidneys or liver may fail, or your spleen may rupture.

Brain problems Damage to your red blood cells caused by malaria can block small blood vessels in your brain causing swelling in the brain and potential brain damage, also called cerebral malaria Goes This condition can lead to coma or death.

Anemia can cause red blood cells to cause insufficient oxygen circulation and important nutrients in your blood.

Low Blood Sugar Severe malaria can lead to dangerously low blood glucose. Quinine, a malaria that is used to treat malaria, can also lower blood sugar levels. If your blood sugar is too low, it can lead to coma or death. (4)

Malaria Prevention and Treatment

If you are traveling to an area of ​​the world where malaria is common, your doctor will most likely prescribe you a preservative.

You may decide to choose or reject a drug based on the side effects of a particular drug, diet schedule, or safety during pregnancy.

If you develop malaria, your doctor will set up your treatment plan for the area where you were infected, the parasites that cause your malaria, among other things, and your symptoms. Will also ensure the intensity of.

Treatment It is important to use medicines that take into account the resistance to any drug, and completely treat your malaria to prevent transmission or further drug resistance.

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