What is malaria?
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a plasmodium parasite and spread by the Anopheles mosquito. In 2015, there were 214 million cases of and 438,000 deaths due to malaria.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
It is a flu-like illness, which begins with a high fever and chills. Other symptoms include vomiting and nausea, headaches, body pain, weakness, and fatigue.
What is the treatment for malaria? Are there any vaccines available?
The treatment for malaria involves the use of prescribed antimalarial medication, mainly Artemisinin Combined Therapy (ACT). The dosage and type of medication will depend on a variety of factors, including age, type of malaria, and in cases of pregnant women. Please consult a doctor if one experiences malaria-like symptoms.
There is no commercially available vaccine against malaria today. While several vaccine candidates are currently under research and development worldwide, one should continue to take adequate precautions to prevent mosquito bites and malaria.
How can one find out if they have malaria/ What are the tests available to diagnose malaria?
Malaria can be promptly diagnosed by a rapid diagnostic test (RDT) or microscopy (laboratory blood test). This involves examining a drop of the patient’s blood to determine presence of the malaria parasite. RDTs are often used in the field by ASHA workers and primary health centers for efficient management of malaria cases, especially in hard-to-reach areas where access to adequate health services is limited. A nucleic acid amplification-based test is also available to detect malaria in areas where malaria is not very common.
How can malaria be prevented?
Malaria is spread by the Anopheles mosquito. It is important to be protected from these mosquitos, both indoors and outdoors because even a single mosquito bite can lead to malaria. Before stepping out, the use of personal repellents like Goodknight Fabric Roll-On (or the Goodknight Cool Gel/ Goodknight Patches etc.) can prevent mosquito bites. When at home, shutting the doors and windows in the evening, and use of household-level repellents like Goodknight Gold Flash and Goodknight Fastcard Card will keep mosquitoes away. People should also sleep under bed nets for further protection.
Where can one get more information about malaria?
The websites of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), and The National Vector Borne Disease Control Program of India (NVBDCP) provide updated information on malaria, its symptoms, and treatment.
Please consult the local doctor, health clinic, or healthcare providers should one have high fever and chills.