Malaria is an infectious disease caused by the Plasmodium (P.) parasites. They are carried by Anopheles mosquitoes. The mosquito gets infected with this parasite by biting an infected person. When that mosquito bites another person, it infects his blood with the plasmodium parasite. There are five species of malaria parasite found in different regions of the world.
They are P. Falciparum, P. Vivax, P. Malariae, P. Ovale and P. Knowlesi.
• P. Falciparum is found in tropical countries and its infection leads to potentially fatal complications. The situation worsens with popular anti-malarial drugs like chloroquine being ineffective in its treatment.
• P. Malariae and P. Vivax are also found in tropical regions. P. Ovale is found particularly in Western Africa and P. Knowlesi in South East Asia.
• The species other than P. falciparum are not so drug resistant.
• The malaria causing mosquitoes usually bite after dusk and before dawn.
• P. Vivax, Ovale and Knowlesi can stay back in the liver. These parasites multiply in the liver and eventually enter your red blood cells. The infected blood cells burst and release even more parasites into your system.
• In order to prevent worsening of condition, additional treatment is required for the malaria parasites that multiply in the liver.
The infection begins with a mosquito bite and the parasite transmitted into your body travels to your liver. Here, the parasite begins reproducing after which the parasite leaves the liver and reaches the red blood cells. There too it reproduces and destroys the cells leaving behind more parasites. Although malaria is mainly caused by mosquito bites, there are other sources as well. Many people catch the infection through blood transfusion or organ transplants. IV drug users can also catch infection from shared needles. Also, the infection can spread from pregnant mothers to their babies. If a mosquito bites an infected person, it will be carry the infected blood and then spread to the next person it bites.
Malaria can only be prevented if you save yourself from mosquito bites and take antimalarial medications. Pregnant women must avoid travelling to places where mosquitoes can be found in large numbers. Wear protective clothing and avoid stepping out of the house when it is dark.
Since malaria is a tropical disease, people from Europe or North American continents contract this disease while travelling to those parts of the world.
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