Malaria: A Deadly Curse Worldwide
Summer has started! Long days, warm weather, numerous outdoor adventures, festivals around the corner and few drizzling days. Wait! Did I forget to mention something? An insect that can prevent you from enjoying all these happy days. Yes, you heard it right? I am talking about a mosquito-borne disease known as Malaria.
- What is Malaria?
- Let’s Discuss How Malaria Spreads:
- Transmission Cycle of Malaria:
- Other Ways Malaria Can Be Transmitted:
- Symptoms of Malaria:
- Diet Plan for Malaria Patients:
- News On Malaria
What is Malaria?
The two words “mal” and “aria” unite and form a word called “Malaria” which means “bad air”. You know that there’s a bit twist in the history of Malaria. Earlier, people think that malaria is spread by a nasty smell that comes from marshland and dirty swamps. But after the discovery of parasites, it is confirmed that a mosquito whose breeding ground is such low-lying areas, is the main reason for the spread of this disease.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne blood disease which is caused when the Anopheles (female) mosquito bites and sucks the Plasmodium Parasites from the blood of malaria-infected person and release it to the new host’s bloodstream, causing the spread of the disease into the body. After the spread, the parasites start multiplying into the host’s Liver and destroy the red blood cells. Since Malaria gives symptoms like flu, it’s unidentifiable at an early stage. Over 100+ countries in the world are affected by Malaria, especially Africa and South Asia.
Let’s Discuss How Malaria Spreads:
Plasmodium Falciparum is the unicellular protozoan parasite and one of the deadliest genus of Plasmodium parasites. Over 200 species of Plasmodium are present worldwide out of which 5 parasitic species host on humans and the rest on birds, reptiles, primates and rodents. The five species of Plasmodium that attacks humans are Plasmodium Falciparum, Plasmodium Ovale, Plasmodium Vivax, Plasmodium Malariae and Plasmodium Knowlesi. The life cycle of the Plasmodium parasites involves several stages on how they multiply and spread.
Transmission Cycle of Malaria:
When a person is suffering from Malaria, the Plasmodium parasites can be found all-over the bloodstream of a person. The female mosquito, known as Anopheles feed on human blood to produce eggs. Thus, when Anopheles bites and sucks the blood from a malaria-infected person, the Plasmodium gets carried away with the mosquito. Again, when it bites a new host, it releases the parasites into the bloodstream that gets multiplied in the liver and spread all over the blood, destroying the red blood cells. Within few weeks of the bite, the symptoms start coming. Likewise, the cycle continues from infected person to the new host and mosquito acts as a vector, spreading the disease.
Other Ways Malaria Can Be Transmitted:
Malaria is mainly caused by the spread of infected blood. So, it is also caused by the blood transmission through:
1. Organ Transplant
2. Organ Transfusion
3. Shared needles or syringes
Symptoms of Malaria:
Depending on the seriousness and type of parasitic attack, the symptoms of Malaria are divided into 2 categories:
The symptoms of Uncomplicated Malaria can be seen in a person but there will be no severe signs. It lasts for 6-10 hours and again comes back on every second day. Most of the times when malarial parasites attack, the symptoms can be confused with those of flu. If the signs of Malaria follows, it is advised for a prompt treatment to prevent the parasites from multiplying. If not treated early, it can soon become severe, especially in people with poor immunity.
The symptoms of Uncomplicated Malaria are:
2. Severe (Complicated):
Severe Malaria can cause the dysfunction of vital organs in our body. As Plasmodium attacks the liver first, all other organs are put at risk as the Liver handles most of the critical functions in our body.
The symptoms of Severe Malaria includes:
1. Blood Loss causing Anemia
2. Failure of the Kidney
3. Low Blood Sugar
4. Air or Respiratory Disease
5. Cerebral Malaria
As the symptoms of Malaria is often confused with Flu and viral infection, it should be properly diagnosed to know the type of the microbes causing disease. Malaria is diagnosed by 2 methods:
1. Examining the Blood Sample under a Microscope or Microscopic Diagnosis:
The blood sample is placed in the microscope glass slide and viewed under the microscope to identify the type of parasite present in the blood of the patient. Before examining, the sample is stained with Giemsa stain to get a proper distinctive appearance of the species present.
2. Malaria Rapid Diagnostic Tests (RDTs):
RDT is done to provide the evidence of malarial parasite present in the blood. As discussed, it is often distinguished with flu and viral. So, the test detects whether the parasites present are a type of Plasmodium (malarial) parasites or not by detecting a special protein or antigens in the blood, only produced by the malarial parasites.
The treatment strategy differs with the type of parasites which are causing malaria. If the malaria-causing parasite is identified as Plasmodium Falciparum, then it needs a different treatment from those of other Plasmodium microbes. In the areas where malaria is endemic and a common disease in local people, the treatment is not time-taking as a mild immunity is already developed in their body against the disease that prevents them from falling sick early.
The treatment for malaria depends on the essential 3 factors:
1. The type of Plasmodium parasite found in the blood during diagnosis.
2. The severity of the symptoms in the host.
3. Depending on the area where the patient has traveled and the nature of malaria common in that place.
If the malaria is uncomplicated, then Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) is recommended by World Health Organization (WHO). Various other medications suggested are:
1. Mefloquine, brand name Lariam
4. Doxycycline (Oracea and Vibramycin)
5. Quinine (Qualaquin)
The global vaccination of malaria is not yet developed as it varies from place-to-place depending on the diversity of the Plasmodium and resistance of the parasite to certain drugs. So, it is advised to take a prior precaution to prevent the parasite from spreading.
Malaria is everywhere! More than 100+ countries in the world are affected by this mosquito-borne blood disease. If you are traveling to a certain place or a country, there’s a possibility that you may be bitten by the Plasmodium parasite of that particular area. Thus, before traveling to a particular place, you should consult a doctor and discuss:
- The kind of Plasmodium which are found in that place.
- Medications you should take prior to the travel, while staying in that place and after the return.
The exposure to malaria can be easily reduced if certain things should be taken care like:
- Spraying insecticides at home and outside the home area to prevent mosquitoes from breeding.
- Sleeping under the net is one of the best ways to stay away from the bite of mosquitoes.
- Cover your skin in the areas where mosquitoes are in abundance.
- Use sprays on skin and clothes that contains DEET, an active ingredient to repel insects.
Recommended Read: 10 Simple Ways To Improve Your Health In 2018
Diet Plan for Malaria Patients:
When malaria infects a person, it decreases the blood count and dehydrates the body making the person week. So, such diets should be given to a malaria patient that can increase the number of red blood cells and provide strength without affecting their digestive system, Kidney and Liver.
Foods to take:
The perfect foods for the malaria-infected patients are:
1. Food that gives Instant Energy:
Since malaria causes decrease in the appetite of a person, they should consume instant energy liquids like glucose, sugarcane juice, coconut water, fruit juice, electoral water, etc.
2. Increase Protein in your Diet:
Proteins help in building up the lost tissues during malaria. Foods like fish, egg, milk, buttermilk and curd make the best protein diet.
3. Vitamins are the Best:
Foods rich in Vitamin A and Vitamin C like papaya, citrus fruits like lemon and grapes, carrot and beetroot are considered good. Vitamin B complex is also suggested.
4. Boiled Water:
Give boiled water instead of normal water. Drink approx 3-3.5 liters of water in a day.
Foods to Avoid:
The foods that should be avoided during during the malaria are:
1. High-Fibre Foods:
Avoid all high fiber foods like whole grain cereals and fruits with thick skins.
2. Junk Foods:
Avoid junk foods like burger and pizza, oily foods, spicy foods, fried foods and pickles.
Avoid the intake of tea, coffee, cake, cocoa, pastries and all caffeinated items.
Read Also: 12 Healthy Foods You Should Eat This Summer
Malaria is a fatal disease and nearly half of the total populations are at severe risk of getting infected by this disease. A report in 2015 estimated that malaria is responsible for approximately 429,000 deaths in the world. Since there’s no particular worldwide-used vaccine for malaria, taking precaution is the only way to prevent it.
Always remember money can’t buy happiness but of course, it can buy a mosquito net 🙂
News On Malaria
WHO Report: Global Efforts Against Malaria Are Stagnant
– 5th Dec 2018
In its latest report the WHO has announced that global efforts in combating malaria have reached a stalemate. The World Health Organization presented a report stating that the number of cases of Malaria have gone up by 2 million, which is to say that 219 million cases were reported in 2017, as opposed to the 217 million of 2016. Malaria takes lethal proportions in sub-Saharan areas of Africa, however, it is a disease present in 91 countries. Each year nearly 450 thousand people die because of contracting malaria. The WHO reported that despite these statistics, funding for mitigating the risk of Malaria has reduced substantially in the previous years, with fund cuts being as high 20% in some cases.
The WHO has identified 5 countries which comprise of nearly 50% of all the people affected with Malaria, and require a more aggressive approach to eradicating malaria, these countries include: Uganda (4% of global malaria population), India (4% of global malaria population), Mozambique (5% of global malaria population), Congo (11% of global malaria population), and Nigeria (25% of global malaria population). However, the World Health Organization has also pointed out that countries like Pakistan, Ethiopia, Rwanda, and India have also shown a considerable decline in the number of reported cases of malaria.
The National Capital is in Danger! Malaria & Dengue Alert in Delhi
11th July 2018
Malaria and Dengue terror is spread all over the Delhi this week. After the municipal report released, it was found that there were 8 fresh cases of malaria reported in Delhi in the first week itself, considering the total of 54 cases reported this season. The report says that out of the total 54 cases in Delhi, 2 malaria cases were reported in February, 1 in March and April each, 17 in May, 25 in June and 8 till now for the following month. Dengue cases are also not behind as a total of 33 dengue cases were reported this season out of which 3 in July, 8 in June, 10 in May, 2 in April, 1 in March, 3 in February and 6 cases in the month of January, as per the report of South Delhi Municipal Corporation. Another report recorded 16 cases of chikungunya this season. This tabulated data has raised the alarm for the vector-borne diseases in the town.
Domestic breeding checkers report found that there was a total of 47,213 households in the city which were found as a mosquito-breeding ground. Anil Baijal, Delhi Lt Governor directed all the local system and other agencies to magnify vector-control measures in Delhi. He also asked the district magistrates to organize regular meetings with all stakeholders and review this vector-borne disease situation. A report also states that there were total 9,271 people affected by the vector-borne diseases in the city last year.