Malaria is a disease that has been around for many years and it is said to have originated in Africa. This disease is caused by plasmodium, a parasite transmitted through bites of a female Anopheles mosquito. Only the Anopheles mosquito carries this parasite and they become infected if they have sucked the blood of an already infected person.
Once the parasite enters the human body, it will multiply in the liver, infecting the red blood cells in the process. Since the parasite is found in the individual’s red blood cells, this disease can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or by sharing needles contaminated with infected blood.
Thankfully, an anti-malarial drug was developed and has been available for more than 50 years. In recent years, the scientists from Britain and United States have cracked the code of the parasite genome which takes a huge step towards boosting the campaign against this disease.
Malaria Symptoms And Incubation Period
After getting bitten by an infected mosquito, the individual will not immediately feel the first symptoms of this disease. It usually takes around 7 to 30 days for the first symptoms to manifest. Some of the parasites can stay latent in the person’s liver for a few months up to 4 years after a person was first bitten by an infected female mosquito. When these parasites start to come out of their hibernation, they will invade the red blood cells. That’s when the individual will start to feel sick.
The infection may lead to various symptoms, which may include:
- Fever and chills
- Dizziness and vomiting
- Muscle and body pains
- General malaise
- Excessive perspiration
- Enlarged spleen or liver
- Increased respiratory rate
The risk of getting infected with malaria will depend on various factors, such as age, physical condition, history of exposure to malaria, and so on. The individuals who have lived in regions with high incidence of malaria have developed partial immunity due to previous infections; thus, these individuals almost never suffer any severe complications. Unfortunately, young children who live in these regions as well as travelers are at risk of getting malaria because they have not yet developed immunity. Other factors that increase the risk of getting this disease include:
- Traveling or living in regions or countries where malaria is common
- Failing to take medications and precautions to prevent malaria prior to, during, and after traveling.
- Failing to get a vaccine against malaria
- Not taking any steps against mosquito bites
- Pregnant women who live in regions with high occurrence of this disease are more at risk because they have a lower immune system.
- Toddlers, elderly, and individuals with health complications are also at risk.
There are ways to reduce the risk of getting infected if you live in regions or countries where the disease is present.
- Get rid of any sources of standing water. In doing so, you will minimize the places where mosquitoes can breed and lay their eggs.
- Wear protective clothing and keep the household clean and sanitary. It is also advisable to keep doors and windows closed or install screens to keep mosquitoes out.
- Apply safe insect repellent when going outdoors to keep mosquitoes away.
- Perform pest control techniques or call a pest control professional to get rid of mosquitoes and other pests from your home.
This guest post is written by Kris Bennette a registered nurse. She aims to raise awareness about Malaria and other mosquito-borne diseases. She also recommends her readers to take preventive pest control measures seriously to keep insects, bugs, and other pests at bay.