Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted through the bite of infected mosquitoes. Nearly half of the world population i.e. nearly two billion of people across the globe are at risk of malaria. People living in poor and developing countries are more vulnerable to malaria.
Here are some of important malaria facts that include extent, effects, treatment and prevention of the deadly disease:
- Annually about 250 million malaria cases are reported. What is even more disturbing is that the most number of deaths occur in the undeveloped and poorer economies.
- Malaria is caused by the parasites of plasmodium species. Mosquitoes act as vectors or carriers and spread the infection from person to person. Malaria infection can be transmitted to all people regardless of their age group.
- Malaria is preventable as well as controllable. The fatal outcomes of malaria can be controlled only by early diagnosis and prompt treatment. An essential element for controlling malaria is disease management. Apart from preventing further complications this also shortens the duration of the disease.
- Due to the widespread resistance of the malaria parasite to anti-malarial drugs, a new group of artemisinin-based combination therapies are being developed for treating malaria.
- In order to reduce the number of malaria cases it is essential to control the breeding of malaria bearing mosquitoes.
- Pregnant women and infants are at high risk of severe malaria. More than 85% deaths of children under the age of five is caused by this deadly disease.
- The best way to prevent malaria is to avoid being bitten by the mosquitoes.
- Long-lasting insecticidal or insecticide treated mosquito nets must be used in high transmission areas. Such nets have been effectively used for providing protection to high risk groups such as young children and pregnant women.
- Indoor residual spraying of insecticides is an effective way of reducing mosquito density. Depending upon the insecticide used, its effect remains from 3 to 6 months. For instance, dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT) remains more effective for longer periods i.e. up to 12 months.
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