Firstly, to know the causes of malaria, one must understand, what malaria is? It is an infectious ailment caused by the Plasmodium (P.) parasites. They are generally transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. The process is when an infected person is bitten by the mosquito, they get infected with this parasite. When the same mosquito bites another person, it infects his/her blood with the plasmodium parasite. There are in total 5 species of malaria parasite found in several parts of the world. They are:
- P. Falciparum
- P. Vivax
- P. malariae
- P. Ovale
- P. Knowlesi
Do you know the main cause of malaria? It is mainly caused by mosquito bites. Mosquitoes can carry five infectious species of Plasmodium (P.) parasite. You would be shocked to know that these infectious mosquitoes are generally found in tropical countries. One needs to be careful as this kind of infection can also be spread from a pregnant mother to their baby.
Facts Of The Malaria Causing Parasites
- 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. Knowles in South East Asia.
- The species other than P. falciparum are not so drug-resistant.
- Malaria causing mosquitoes usually bite after dusk and before dawn.
- P. Vivax, Ovale, and Knowles 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.
- To prevent worsening of the condition, additional treatment is required for the malaria parasites that multiply in the liver.
What Causes Malaria?
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 the 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 carrying 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 traveling 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 traveling to those parts of the world.
Read more on Other Diseases.