Malaria is a disease caused by parasites that live in infected mosquitoes. The incidence of malaria is most common in tropical and subtropical climate countries; however, it can be present in moderate climates as well. Malaria is hazardous to travelers in these climates and those who travel there should attempt preventative measures. There is currently a vaccine under development, as most of the parasites responsible for malaria are immune to many of the medications that are used to treat the disease.
Malaria is a disease that is caused by a parasite. This parasite infects humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Once the infected mosquito bites a human, the parasite is off and running. The parasites infect the bloodstream where they then travel into and infect the liver. While in the liver, they mature and form merozoites, which then infect the red blood cells.
Most symptoms occur somewhere between eight days and one year following an infection. Symptoms typically run in cycles of 2 to 3 days at a time. The symptoms are mainly caused by the merozoites infecting the bloodstream, anemia due to the disturbance of red blood cells and immense amounts of hemoglobin rushing into circulation in the wake of the destruction of red blood cells. Symptoms of malaria include:
Malaria is caused by the release of a parasite from an infected mosquito’s bite. The cycle of malaria begins with a mosquito bite and leads to the infection of the liver, destruction of red blood cells and mild to severe malaria symptoms. Other modes of malaria transmission include:
The most serious risk factor for contracting malaria is traveling to or living in areas of the world where malaria is an epidemic. There are several varieties of parasites that can cause malaria. The most common places for malaria are:
People that may be more susceptible to contracting malaria include:
The only way to diagnose malaria is to perform a blood test. A blood test is also the most definitive factor is starting treatment if an individual tests positive for malaria. Blood tests are useful in:
Malaria is generally treated with antimalarial drugs. However, there has been some trouble in treating malaria because many of the parasites that cause malaria have become drug resistant. Deciding what antimalarial drug to use and how long treatment will last will depend upon a variety of factors including:
If you know that you will be visiting an area that is known for malaria transmission, consult your doctor to speak about medications that you may take to protect yourself. These medications will likely need to be taken several months in advance, so prepare accordingly. Additionally, you may be able to protect yourself by adhering to the following guidelines:
If you suspect that you have been exposed to malaria or are exhibiting any symptoms, consult your doctor. Prepare for your appointment by making a list of symptoms, when they began, whether you had malaria in the past, and whether you have traveled to a place where malaria is present. Malaria can be fatal and can cause many complications such as:
Malaria is a serious disease borne from infected mosquitoes. If left untreated, malaria can cause severe complications and even death. If you plan to travel to a place where malaria is present, take precautions to protect yourself from exposure to malaria. If you think you are experiencing any symptoms associated with malaria contact your doctor immediately.