Malaria is a serious, and at times even life-threatening tropical disease that is transmitted through the bite of an infected mosquito. It is usually prevalent in tropical countries (sub-Saharan Africa, Southeast Asia, Latin America and Middle East) which have a warmer climate, hot enough for the parasites to thrive. Malaria in India is a common vector-borne disease.
How Malaria Spreads
Only female Anopheles mosquitoes spread the Malaria parasites and interestingly, this mosquito bites mostly in the night time (between dusk and dawn). When a mosquito bites a person already infected with Malaria, it sucks up the person’s blood which is laden with the disease-causing parasites. When the same mosquito bites another person, it injects the parasites into that person.
Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, shared use of needles/syringes that are contaminated with infected blood, and from a mother to her unborn child before or during delivery.
Malaria Fever Symptoms
Malaria symptoms usually appear between 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bites.
Malaria infection is usually characterized by recurrent attacks exhibiting the following signs and symptoms:
In some types, malaria fever occurs in 48-hour cycles. During these cycles, the person feels cold at first and experiences profound shivering and develops fever, which is accompanied by severe sweating and fatigue. These symptoms usually last for 6 to 12 hours.
Generally, the patient presents with a combination of the following symptoms depending upon the severity of infection and type of parasite infested –
If not treated, Malaria may become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs.
How to Prevent Malaria
Malaria can be avoided by using the ABCD approach to prevention –
With the correct diagnosis and management, Malaria is a highly preventable and treatable disease. Besides supportive care, appropriate antibiotics are given for Malaria treatment.