Malaria is a life-threatening infection that gets transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. Malaria cases increase manifolds during monsoon season because of the warmer temperature and humid climate.
According to World Health Organization (WHO), about 3.4 billion people around the world are at risk of malaria. In 2012, malaria contributed to an estimated 627 000 deaths worldwide. Those living in the developing and underdeveloped countries are the most vulnerable to malaria compared with the rest of the world.
The mosquito-borne illness is preventable and treatable. The scale-up of interventions and awareness of the disease has helped one to reduce malaria incidence rates substantially across the globe. WHO currently recommends chloroquine for the treatment of P. vivax malaria.
Plasmodium parasites that are spread to people through the bite of infected Anopheles mosquito vectors causes malaria. Of the parasite species that cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum is the most fatal.
Over the years, malaria mortality rates have fallen dramatically owing to the increased malaria prevention and control measures. The WHO statistics suggest that malaria mortality rates have fallen by 42 per cent globally since 2000.
If malaria is diagnosed early and treatment is prompt, the risk of malaria transmission decreases, which keeps the disease from advancing. Access to diagnostic testing and treatment has improved malaria control significantly in the recent years.
Indoor residual spraying, particularly during monsoons, is the most effective way to reduce malaria transmission. Spraying with insecticides kills the mosquito vector and offers protection against the disease for up to 5 months.
Pregnant women are particularly at risk of malaria. There can be serious complications such as spontaneous abortion, premature delivery, stillbirth and severe maternal anaemia if a woman gets infected. Malaria during pregnancy may also lead to low-birth-weight baby.