Malaria, meaning bad air, was thought to be caused by bad air or bad water (as its meaning suggests). Presently the world is convinced that malaria is caused by infected female mosquitoes and not by any of the pre-conceived sources of the disease. Now when we know that it is the mosquito that is at fault, let us see how this little thing, whose bite is almost painless to the human senses, can cause high fevers and sometimes death as well.
When a malaria mosquito bites a person, the parasites are injected into the blood stream and are regulated to the other body parts, causing high malaria fever. Most of the times, these parasites die and digested with the blood itself. The problem is when it is the Anopheles mosquito that has bitten. It causes gametocytes in blood and these gametocytes develop into gametes. Only one of gametocycles can cause production of innumerable plasmodium sp. in the blood. The parasite travels through some stages of development. In female gamocytes, the nuclear material gets in motion and reaches the cell edge. In the case of males, the nucleus fraction takes place which produces six microgametes. All in all, it happens in fifteen minutes or less. Female gametes get fertilised by a microgamete and the fertilised cell is called Ookinete. It then circulates around the mosquito’s stomach and constant rounding makes it an Oocyst. Nuclear material splits repeatedly within the oocyst and produces hundred of sporozoites. Once it breaks out of the oocyst, it moves around and rests on the salivary gland of the tissue till the mosquito feeds again. Sporozoities linger around the blood stream for a few minutes before attacking the liver cells where they start multiplying once again. When symptoms of malaria arise in a person, the parasites start to circulate in the blood and are found in the RBCs, also called erythrocytes.
Blood transfusions can also cause malaria to spread; by use of a syringe previously injected into a malaria infected person. But in most of the cases, Anopheles is the carrier of malaria.
It is a serious concern that malaria can go on to spread far and wide because when an Anopheles is contaminated with malaria, it stays within it for life and this infects all those that it bites. It is found that the malaria infected Anopheles mosquito has more appetite than an uninfected mosquito. This makes the potential spread of malaria obvious. And it is to be noted that only female mosquitoes cause malaria because male mosquitoes do not bite. Also, not all mosquitoes transmit malaria. Only those belonging to the anopheles species of mosquito clan have a role in the spread of the malaria parasite.
Even though malaria has taken its toll on some regions of the world, it has successfully been curbed in many countries. Its prevention is possible by keeping the environment in your vicinity clean and hygienic. Stagnant water is the perfect abode of the malaria mosquito. The best thing that we can do is to maintain a clean environment around us so as to avert the breeding of these mosquitoes.
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