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Thursday, November 4, 2010

Malaria: Types Of Malaria, its Life Cycle, Signs and Symptoms, prevention And Treatment Of Malaria

What is This Rubbish thing coming out of Mosquitoes !!!

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite, Plasmodium, which infects red blood cells. Malaria is characterized by cycles of chills, fever, pain and sweating. Historical records suggest malaria has infected humans since the beginning of mankind. The name "mal 'aria" (meaning "bad air" in Italian) was first used in English in 1740 by H. Walpole


Types of malaria

There are 4 types of malaria that infect humans:
  • Plasmodium vivax, abbreviated as P.v.
  • Plasmodium malariae, abbreviated as P.m.
  • Plasmodium ovale, abbreviated as P.o. and
  • Plasmodium falciparum, abbreviated as P.f.

Malaria from Plasmodium falciparum

Plasmodium falciparum is known to be the most lethal form of the plasmodium parasite, with most malaria infections and deaths being due to falciparum.
Plasmodium falciparum is common to the southern regions of Africa, but it is reported that cases are now being reported in other areas, where this type was thought to have been eradicated.
Although P. falciparum is a dangerous infection to contract, the three other types of infection also needs to be treated, as their untreated progress can also cause a host of health problems.

  Life cycle Of Plasmodium

The life cycle of the parasite is complicated and involves two hosts, humans and AnophelesAnopheles mosquito bites a person and injects the malaria parasites (sporozoites) into the blood. Sporozoites travel through the bloodstream to the liver, mature, and eventually infect the human red blood cells. While in red blood cells, the parasites again develop until a mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected human and ingests human red blood cells containing the parasites. Then the parasites reach the Anopheles mosquito's stomach and eventually invade the mosquito salivary glands. When an Anopheles mosquito bites a human, these sporozoites complete and repeat the complex Plasmodium life cycle. P. ovale and P. vivax can further complicate the cycle by producing dormant stages (hypnozoites) that may not develop for weeks to years. mosquitoes. 


Symptoms of malaria

Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.

Key interventions to control malaria include: prompt and effective treatment with artemisinin-based combination therapies; use of insecticidal nets by people at risk; and indoor residual spraying with insecticide to control the vector mosquitoes.
The symptoms characteristic of malaria include flu-like illness with fever, chills, muscle aches, and headache. Some patients develop nausea, vomiting, cough, and diarrhea. Cycles of chills, fever, and sweating that repeat every one, two, or three days are typical. There can sometimes be vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and whites of the eyes due to destruction of red blood cells and liver cells.

People with severe P. falciparum malaria can develop bleeding problems, shock, liver or kidney failure, central nervous system problems, coma, and can die from the infection or its complications. Cerebral malaria (coma, or altered mental status or seizures) can occur with severe P. falciparum infection.



Half of the world's population is at risk of malaria, and an estimated 243 million cases led to an estimated 863 000 deaths in 2008. Once a person develops malaria, the only means of reducing suffering and preventing death is by diagnosing and treating the disease. There are, today, tools with which a malaria diagnosis can be made even at the community level, and very effective medicines by way of artemisinin-based combination therapies for the treatment of uncomplicated malaria. The World Health Organization Guidelines for the treatment of malaria provides evidence-based and up-to-date recommendations for countries on malaria diagnosis and treatment which help countries formulate their policies and strategies.

Three main factors determine treatments: the infecting species of Plasmodium parasite, the clinical situation of the patient (for example, adult, child, or pregnant female with either mild or severe malaria), and the drug susceptibility of the infecting parasites. Drug susceptibility is determined by the geographic area where the infection was acquired. Different areas of the world have malaria types that are resistant to certain medications. The correct drugs for each type of malaria must be prescribed by a doctor who is familiar with malaria treatment protocols. Since people infected with P. falciparum malaria can die (often because of delayed treatment), immediate treatment for P. falciparum malaria is necessary.

Mild malaria can be treated with oral medication; 
severe malaria (one or more symptoms of either impaired consciousness/coma, severe anemia, renal failure, pulmonary edema, acute respiratory distress syndrome, shock, disseminated intravascular coagulation, spontaneous bleeding, acidosis, hemoglobinuria [hemoglobin in the urine], jaundice, repeated generalized convulsions, and/or parasitemia [parasites in the blood] of > 5%) requires intravenous (IV) drug treatment and fluids.

Drug treatment of malaria is not always easy. pChloroquine phosphate is the drug of choice for all malarial parasites except for chloroquine-resistant Plasmodium strains. Although almost all strains of P. malariae are susceptible to chloroquine, P. falciparum, P. vivax and even some P. ovale strains have been reported as resistant to chloroquine. Unfortunately, resistance is usually noted by drug-treatment failure in the individual patient. There are, however, multiple drug-treatment protocols for treatment of drug resistant Plasmodium strains (for example, quinine sulfate plus doxycycline [Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox] or tetracycline [Achromycin], or clindamycin [Cleocin], or atovaquone-proguanil [Malarone]). There are specialized labs that can test the patient's parasites for resistance, but this is not done frequently. Consequently, treatment is usually based on the majority of Plasmodium species diagnosed and its general drug-resistance pattern for the country or world region where the patient became infested. For example, P. falciparum acquired in the Middle East countries is usually susceptible to chloroquine, but if acquired in sub-Sahara African countries, is usually resistant to chloroquine.

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