Malaria is a parasitic disease of protozoan of the plasmodium genus that causes infection of red blood cells (RBCs). Its spread is blamed on Anopheles, a type of mosquito which is usually found in the tropical and sub-tropical regions. When the culprit mosquito sinks its sting into a person’s skin, the malaria parasites are circulated in the blood resulting in malaria fever.
Four types of malaria are known to infect a person:
It has the widest distribution around the globe. Approximately 60% of infections in India are caused by P.v. Although it seldom causes death or other serious problems, it can still cause major illness. Some of the common symptoms of P.v are fatigue, diarrhoea, bouts of fever and chills. Flu-like symptoms are commonly observed in the person affected by plasmodium vivax.
This is the rarest of all the malaria types and is mostly found in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and the tropical West African region. Plasmodium ovale reoccurs in some cases because the parasite can rest in the liver of a patient for a few months to 4 years after getting infected by the mosquito carrying malaria. These parasites are most likely to relapse and invade RBCs and making the patient sick again.
This type of malaria is not as wide spread as the other types and is known to have less than 1 percent infections in the Indian subcontinent. The tropical and subtropical regions of South and Central America, South East Asia and Africa are witnessing its affects since long. Although it is not lethal, it still has varied distributions and is ranked third in prevalence. It manifests itself in the form of high fever and chills.
The plasmodium parasite is recognised as the most lethal parasite that causes most infections and deaths related to malaria. This type of malaria is found in Africa, South America, and South East Asia. A Study held in 2002 showed that about 2.2 billion people in the world were at risk of getting affected by P.f. 25% of these events occurred in South East Asian region and almost 70% in Africa. The individual infected by this parasite experiences fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain, aching muscles, enlarged spleen, seizures, sore back, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, anaemia and some neurological symptoms as well. Since it is the severest of all the four malaria types, it become important that this be checked, diagnosed and treated on time. This infection also has an adverse affect on brain and the central nervous system. Many times, changes in the levels of consciousness, paralysis and convulsions can also occur.
Malaria fever affects almost 500 million every year and about 1 to 3 million people face death. It is also critical for those travelling to these regions where the hold of malaria is strong and old. This makes prevention of malaria even more crucial.
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