Malaria is a life-threatening blood disease transmitted through the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito. The infectious agent carried by these mosquitoes is called the plasmodium parasite, and it is released into the bloodstream when the mosquitoes bite people.
Once the plasmodium parasite gets inside the body, it travels to the liver and matures there, then after some days, goes back to the bloodstream and begins to destroy the red blood cells. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites multiply rapidly and continue to destroy more cells, leading to symptoms that occur in cycles.
Malaria is caused by plasmodium parasites, transmitted through the bite of the anopheles mosquitoes.
There are different types of plasmodium parasites: plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale, and P. falciparum. Plasmodium falciparum is the most severe type of plasmodium parasite; patients with this type of malaria have a higher risk of complications and death.
Malaria can also be transmitted from one person to another by blood through organ transplants, blood donation, childbirth, shared needles and syringes.
Symptoms of Malaria
It is possible to have malaria without symptoms, especially in its early stages, because the symptoms usually develop within 10 days to 4 weeks and sometimes may even take months if the parasite enters the body and stays dormant for a while.
The common symptoms of malaria include:
- High fever.
- Shaking chills.
- Profuse sweating.
- Abdominal pain.
- Muscle pain.
Malaria often features some uncomplicated symptoms, but without early treatment, it may progress to become severe and life-threatening. Severe symptoms of malaria include:
- Severe anaemia.
- Changes in behaviour.
- Blood in the urine.
- Bloody stools.
- Changes in blood clotting.
- High acidity in the blood and body fluids.
- Impaired consciousness.
The treatment of malaria may vary according to the type of plasmodium parasite, the severity of the symptoms, where the person contracted the disease and if the person is pregnant. So here are the treatment options for malaria.
- Medications to eliminate the plasmodium parasite from the bloodstream.
- Hospitalization for patients with severe symptoms.
- Supportive care.
- Intensive care if necessary.