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Malaria

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Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease caused by a parasite. Malaria is a disease mostly transmitted by mosquitoes. The illness results in recurrent attacks of chills and fever and can be deadly.

Through the combined use of medications and insecticides, malaria appeared to have been brought under control for a brief period during the mid-20th century. But evolving strains of drug-resistant parasites and insecticide-resistant mosquitoes have led to a resurgence of the disease.

  • Parasites
  • Although malaria has been virtually eradicated in countries with temperate climates, it's still prevalent in rural areas of tropical and subtropical countries in Africa, Asia, South America and Central America.

    Malaria remains one of the globe's leading infectious killers. Estimates of annual deaths due to malaria range between 700,000 and 2.7 million. More than 75 percent of these deaths occur in children in sub-Saharan Africa.

    Most  cases develop in travelers who have recently returned from parts of the world where malaria is widespread.

    • Interestingly Malaria was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross, who was working in Secunderabad in the early 19th century.

    • Malaria is one of the oldest recorded disease in the world in the 18th century. Italians associated it with "Bad Air" (Mal aria)

    • Malaria remains the world's most devastating human infection, with 300-500 million clinical cases and 3 million deaths every year.

    • Paul Muller received a Nobel prize for the discovery of Malaria in 1939.

    Causes 

    Malaria is usually caused by a mosquito bite and the parasite microbe is passed from the mosquito to the blood through a sharp hypoderme needle like sting.

    Transmitted by transfusion of infected blood.

    Symptoms

    A typical attack consists of a cold stage, hot stage, and sweating stage

    • Cold stage: In this stage of the disease there is sudden onset of fever with rigor and extreme cold.

    • Hot stage: There is rise in temperature usually up to 41 degrees. There is intense headache.

    • Sweating stage: Fever comes down with profuse sweating and the stage lasts for 2 hours

  • Headache

  • Diagnose

    Sample of blood is taken and looked for the parasite. 

    Treatment

    Prevention of malaria what is practiced in epidemic areas is by spraying insecticides like DDT. Many new drugs are available for malaria, however most of the drugs are derived from Quinine derivatives. Chloroquinine proved most promising was discovered by Gremans as early as 1934.

    Malaria parasite belongs to the family of protozoa called Plasmodium which is of 4 types, the most common of which is Plasmodium Falcipaurum.

    Complications

    include:

    • Cerebral Malaria: Where there may be fits, psychosis, coma etc

    • Hypoglycemia: Occurs in severe malaria, pregnancy, or with quinine therapy.

    • Acute renal failure: Due to fall in BP or haemoglobinuria.

    Coping skills

    • Which doctor should I consult if I am suffering from malarial fever?
      You can consult a general physician.

    • Can all mosquitoes cause malaria?
      No, the female anopheles mosquitoes, can only cause malaria.

    • How can I prevent getting Malaria?
      Try to reduce bites by using nets, repellants and long sleeved clothes in the evenings.

  • Parasites

  • Malaria > 1 > 2 > 3 > 4

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    This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
    In no event will The Integrated Medical Clinic be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

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    Last Modified : 10/01/06 04:26 AM