Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected female mosquito Anopheles. On World Malaria Day, learn more about this disease, including the signs and symptoms.
World Malaria Day, observed on April 25 every year, aims to raise awareness about malaria and funds for the treatment and prevention of the mosquito-borne disease. The theme for this year’s global health event is ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ and the day is being hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Malaria is a serious disease killing more than 400,000 people globally, with most of them children.
But WHO’s latest World Malaria Report said that no significant reduction was made in malaria cases in the period between 2015 and 2017. It showed that the number of malaria deaths in 2017, which stood at 435 000, remained virtually unchanged over the previous year. Perhaps, approximately half the world’s population is at risk from the disease, as per non-profit organization Malaria No More.
Malaria is found in more than 100 countries around the world, however, most cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted through the bites of infected female mosquito Anopheles. But people can also get malaria from exposure to infected blood – through blood transfusion, by sharing needles, from mother to unborn child, etc. Learn more about this disease, including the signs and symptoms.
Signs and symptoms of malaria
Generally, the symptoms of malaria begin within a few weeks after being bitten by an infected mosquito. However, the parasites that cause malaria can also lie dormant in your body for up to a year. The worst part is that many malaria parasites are now resistant to most common drugs used to treat the disease. If you notice any of the following symptoms, you should seek medical help:
Muscle pain and fatigue
Nausea and vomiting
Pain in the abdomen
How’s malaria treated?
Antimalarial medication is used to both treat and prevent malaria. However, the types of antimalaria medication used to both treat and prevent the disease will vary depending on various factors – such as your age, whether you’re pregnant, the type of malaria parasite you have, and the severity of your symptoms, etc.
If it’s not diagnosed not treated properly, malaria can lead to severe and life-threatening complications, including breathing problems and organ failure. For the first time, a malaria vaccine has been launched in Malawi. The vaccine, known RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 years of age.
If you’re living or traveling to areas where malaria is common, you must take precautionary measures to prevent mosquito bites, such as wearing protective clothing, using insect repellants and sleeping under treated mosquito nets. You may also be prescribed preventive medicine depending on your risk factors for infection.