Malaria develops once the blood is infected with parasites that are carried by mosquitoes. It is important to note that there are 5 types of parasites that can affect humans. The condition is still a serious threat in different parts of the world. It is not only a threat to those who live in these high-risk countries but also to those who travel to these areas. With the right conditions, malaria can spread rapidly even in areas where it is not usually present.
What are indications of malaria?
- High fever and chills
- Extreme sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Body aches and generalized discomfort
- Muscle ache
If the symptoms are not properly treated, the condition can eventually lead to death.
Causes of malaria
Malaria develops once a mosquito carrying the parasite bites the individual and passes the parasite into the bloodstream. The parasite eventually multiplies in the red blood cells which destroys them and causes the person to become sick.
An uninfected mosquito can acquire the parasite after biting an infected individual. The parasite multiplies in the mosquito and passes it on to other individuals. This is how rapidly many individuals can become infected.
Malaria is considered as a global health issue. With the increasing number of individuals who travel all over the globe, it continues to be a risk even in countries where it does not normally occur. The condition is quite common in developing countries and areas with high humidity and warm but moderate temperatures. Take note that the deadliest forms of malaria are quite common in Africa.
Who are at risk?
- Individuals exposed to mosquitoes infected with the parasites responsible for causing malaria
- Those who live or travel to a high-risk area
- Individuals exposed to blood infected with malaria
- A fetus can acquire malaria during pregnancy or birth if the mother is infected
How is it diagnosed
The doctor will suspect malaria among individuals who have travelled to high-risk areas and have flu-like symptoms. This is not always true in countries where it does not occur.
A diagnosis is made by assessing a sample of blood. This is taken with a finger prick test and the sample is analyzed for the presence of the disease.
Before treatment is started, the doctor should determine the type of parasite responsible for the condition. Depending on the location where the infection took place, some of these parasites might be resistant to certain drugs.
It is vital to start treatment as soon as possible. Remember that the condition can be lethal and treatment is more effective once started early. There are medications that can be taken orally or intravenously. The IV drugs are suitable for those who could not take medications orally or who have a parasite that triggers the severe form.
If not treated, it can be fatal which is why immediate treatment is vital. The parasites that are resistant to medications have been a growing concern. Some parasites are able to survive and multiply despite the anti-malarial drugs. Due to this, it is vital to inform the doctor regarding areas that the individual has travelled to and the time spent there. This information will be used to properly treat the condition.
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