Silent Invader: Malaria’s Impact on Global Health

Introduction: The Stealthy Assault of Malaria

A parasitic infection in humans caused by Plasmodium falciparum, P.vivax, P.ovale, P.malariae is called malaria. Malaria is endemic or sporadic throughout most of the tropics and subtropics. One hundred million people are attracted manually, of whom 1% die, mainly children. Malaria is primarily a disease of hot, humid climate. It is endemic in India, in parts of Africa and Central America. 

In this blog, we embark on a journey to understand the profound impact of it on global health. Often overlooked, yet devastating, it silently infiltrates communities worldwide. Let’s unveil the intricacies of this parasitic invader and explore the ongoing efforts to combat its far-reaching consequences. 

The Malarial Culprit: Understanding the Parasite’s Life Cycle

It is transmitted by the bite of anopheles mosquitoes, which acts as a vector. The vector also acts as a reservoir of infection. The attack of  its fever corresponds with rupture of RBCs and release of merozoites in blood. The parasite can be transmitted by blood transfusion, through placenta from mother to fetus and increasingly between drug addicts who use unsterilised syringes and needles. 

Life cycle of parasite 

The parasite passes its life cycle in two hosts : definite hosts, the anopheles mosquito in which it undergoes sexual cycle ( sporogony ) and the immediate host : the man, in which it passes asexual cycle. It is also known as schizogony. 

The anopheles mosquito becomes infected when it feeds on human blood containing gametocytes, the sexual form of its parasite. The incubation period varies 7 – 20 days. The sexual cycle in mosquitoes passes through various stages. The asexual cycle in humans starts with the bite of anopheles mosquito which discharges an infective form of parasite in blood. The parasites passes its life cycle through the following stages : 

  • Pre – erythrocytic schizogony 
  • Erythrocytic schizogony
  • Gametogeny 
  • Exo – erythrocytic schizogony   
Signs And Symptoms Of Malaria 

Incubation period varies from 10 – 14 days, which is based on type of infection. Common symptoms include : 

  • Fever and sweating
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Shaking chills
  • Abdominal pain
  • Anemia
  • Diarrhoea
  • Chest pain
  • Muscle pain
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Bloody stools
  • Fatigue
Population at risk of malaria
  • Young children who are relatively non-immune and persons with non immune status. 
  • Pregnant women – Malaria in pregnancy can lead to miscarriage, stillbirth, low birth weight, and prematurity, as well as other congenital infections and abnormalities, and early newborn death
  • Travelers who are also non-immune.  
  • People with HIV/AIDS
  • Immigrants from endemic areas and their children living in non-endemic areas. 
Diagnostic Dilemmas
    • Demonstration of parasites in peripheral blood smears – two to three blood smears are taken each day for 3 – 4 days and, if found negative, a patient declared malaria-free. In the positive case of P.falciparum infection only ring forms are seen in early stages. 
    • Serological tests – These methods are not widely used. 
    • Rapid diagnostic test – These methods are widely used, but are not standardised. 
    • Molecular test – It is used to identify the type of parasite.
Treatment Trails  

It’s very important to start treatment as soon as possible. Doctors prescribe medications to kill the parasite. The length of the treatment will vary, depending upon : 

  • Age of the patient
  • Pregnant women
  • Type of the malaria
  • The severity of the symptom

There are different antimalarial drugs available to treat malaria such as chloroquine phosphate, primaquine phosphate, atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone), mefloquine, doxycycline and artemisinin-based combination therapies. 

Prevention Protocols: From Bed Nets to Vaccines

During traveling to an area where malaria is common, follow the following prevention strategies to protect yourself from mosquito bites that may contain the its parasites. 

  • Cover the skin with clothes such as long pants, full sleeve shirts and hats.
  • Apply sprays containing permethrin, which are safe to apply on clothes.
  •  Sleep under a net. It helps in preventing mosquito bites. 
  • Apply insect repellent to skin. Repellents that contain DEET, picaridin, IR3535, oil of lemon eucalyptus (OLE), para-menthane-3,8-diol (PMD) or 2-undecanone. 
  • Put screens on windows and doors.
  • Vaccines are available for children, which is effective against Plasmodium falciparum malaria, which causes severe disease in children.

As we conclude our exploration of the silent invader, reflect on the collective efforts to eradicate malaria. From grassroots initiatives to international collaborations, the journey towards a malaria-free world is an ongoing global endeavor.

What's your reaction?

In Love

You may also like

Comments are closed.