Malaria is the most important parasitic disease in the world. The malaria terms are used interchangeably.
Malaria is responsible for the deaths of more than a million people a year, mostly children in Africa. The disease is caused by a parasite of the genus Plasmodium, and is transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes live in temperate and tropical zones. The mosquito bites at night and indoors during the day resting on the walls and ceiling.
Malaria is spread by the following areas: Central and northern half of South America, Africa, India and Southeast Asia.
It can give countries imported cases in other areas due to travel or emigration of individuals.
There are many species of Plasmodium, but only four affect humans: P. Falciparum is responsible for the most severe forms of malaria. The other species are: P. Vivax, P. Ovale and P. Malariae.
The infected mosquito bites humans and transmits the parasite. The parasite reaches the liver through the bloodstream. In the liver, multiply and after several days or weeks (average 10 days), will start releasing thousands of parasites into the bloodstream. Here, the young forms of Plasmodium enter the red blood cells of the blood. Within the red blood cells, the parasite just mature and grow, and then breaks the red cell and into the blood again. This process is cyclical and can last several weeks.
Uncomplicated malaria often given initial symptoms similar to
flu, with muscle aches, headache, fatigue, etc..
Fever is the main symptom of the disease: the principle can be
irregular but a week appears the classic pattern of malaria: first appears cold and shivering, high fever rises later and ends with much sweating. This is repeated cyclically every 48 hours (tertian fever) or every 72 hours (quartan fever) as special plasmodium.
Uncomplicated malaria: the main complication and cause of death from malaria is cerebral involvement. In cerebral malaria appears deep coma and convulsions that can lead to death. Only the species falciparum causes cerebral malaria.
Other complications include severe anemia, bleeding, or renal failure among others.
It is made by thick film: blood is removed from affected, stained and visualized by microscopy. If parasites are already made the diagnosis. It is a simple and inexpensive method, to supply in any area of the world.
The malaria treatment is with drugs called antimalarials. There are several types, such as chloroquine, quinine, mefloquine and others. The choice of either drug depends on the area where the person is infected and chloroquine resistance in the area.
It is essential to identify the symptoms of the disease in order to establish the treatment as soon as possible, as the treatment is decreasing complications and mortality. This is especially important for the child population of the areas with the most severe forms of malaria caused by P. Falciparum.
On the one hand we must take measures to prevent mosquito bites: sleep under mosquito nets, repellents and mosquito control measures in endemic areas (use of residual insecticides inside houses).
For travelers to areas where malaria is also advisable to take antimalarial from before starting the journey and until a few weeks after returning. The choice of agent will depend on the particular area visited. You have to go to a vaccination before traveling internationally to learn.
The malaria vaccine in development. In fact, there are already the first vaccines with encouraging results, but for now are undergoing clinical trials and are not marketed.