Malaria is a serious ailment brought about by the Plasmodium parasites. These parasites are transmitted to humans via the bite of an Anopheles mosquito carrying the parasite.
Once the Plasmodium parasite enters the bloodstream, they move to the liver and reproduce rapidly. In most cases, some parasites that move into the bloodstream destroy the red blood cells which transport oxygen to the bodily tissues.
The parasites that linger in the liver continue to reproduce and periodically move more parasites into the bloodstream. This result to repeated episodes of flu-like symptoms every time the new parasites are released into the blood. Take note that the episodes of malaria can recur for years if the condition is not properly diagnosed and treated. Over time, the immune system might develop a defense against these episodes and they can become less severe in some individuals.
Indications of malaria
The indications of malaria initially manifest in around 8-30 days after being bit by an infected mosquito. The repeated episodes arise every 2-3 days. The symptoms strikingly resemble the flu such as:
The episodes of malaria can manifest for years if the condition is not diagnosed and treated.
What are the causes?
Malaria is brought about by the parasites belonging to the genus Plasmodium. The 2 species that are responsible for the disease include P. vivax and P. falciparum.
The parasites are transmitted to humans via the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. Take note that an Anopheles mosquito can only infect an individual with malaria if it has bitten another individual with the disease.
Malaria is not transmittable from one individual to another. Nevertheless, an infected mother can transmit the parasite to her baby before or during delivery. Additionally, the condition can also be transmitted via blood products but this is rare.
Malaria is managed using antimalarial drugs. The combination of antimalarial drugs is often required to completely manage the condition. The commonly used antimalarial drugs include chloroquine, quinine and quinidine.
In severe cases and if the life-threatening complications such as anemia arise, hospitalization is required which involves intravenous administration of the antimalarial drugs.