Malaria
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What should you know about Malaria?

Malaria is a mosquito borne infection in humans caused by Plasmodium .It occurs by bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito.

The life cycle of Plasmodium (malaria parasite) involves 2 hosts –Humans and Anopheles mosquito. The infection is transmitted in humans when an infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person and injects the sporozoites (malaria parasite) into the blood.[Text Wrapping Break]Sporozoites travel through the blood stream into the liver and finally infect the human’s red blood cells. The symptoms include –recurrent fever, chills, muscle aches, nausea, headache, vomiting. The infectious disease is spread 40% worldwide. Africa, Asia and Central and South America have higher occurrences of infection.

How does Malaria spread?

The infection is spread by the bite of particular types of mosquito. Untreated people with malaria may be a source of mosquito infection for up to three years.  Biting a person with malaria in their blood infects the mosquito.  After a period of development inside the mosquito, the disease can be transmitted to another person when the same mosquito bites them. The mosquito is infected for life.

Is malaria contagious?

It is not spread from person to person (except in pregnancy). This occurs rarely and is usually found in a transmission from the mother to the unborn child (congenital malaria), by blood transfusions, or when intravenous-drug users share needles. Except for the above conditions, the infection is not considered to be contagious person to person.

How does malaria symptoms start?

The symptoms of the infection start appearing 10–15 days after a person is bitten by the infected mosquito. The incubation period for P. vivax is usually 10-17 days but can be much longer (about one year and rarely, as long as 30 years!). P. falciparum usually has a short incubation period (10-14 days). Other species of Plasmodium that cause malaria have incubation periods similar to P. vivax.

What are the signs and symptoms of the infection?

The most common symptoms are

  • fever and chills,
  • headaches,
  • nausea and vomiting, and
  • general weakness and body aches.

Symptoms of Complicated or severe malaria

  • Severe anemia (due to destruction of red blood cells)
  • Kidney failure
  • Cerebral malaria – seizures, unconsciousness, abnormal behavior, or confusion
  • Cardiovascular collapse

Can malaria go away on its own?

With proper treatment, symptoms of the infection usually go away quickly, with a cure within two weeks. Without proper treatment, malaria episodes (fever, chills, sweating) can return periodically over a period of years.

Types of malaria?

Four types of this infectious disease are known to infect a person:

  1. Plasmodium vivax: About 60 % of infections caused due to PV . Some of the common symptoms of P.v are fatigue, diarrhoea, bouts of fever and chills.
  2. Plasmodium ovale: This is the rarest of all the infection types and is mostly found in Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria and the tropical West African region.
  3. Plasmodium malariae : This type of 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.
  4. Plasmodium falciparum: It is the most lethal parasite that causes most infections and deaths related to this disease. This type of infection is found in Africa, South America, and South East Asia. Individual infected by this parasite suffer from fatigue, dizziness, abdominal pain, aching muscles, enlarged spleen, seizures, sore back, joint pain, vomiting, nausea, fever, headache, anemia and some neurological symptoms as well.

Is it curable or not?

If the right drugs are used, people who have this infectious disease can be cured and all the malaria parasites can be cleared from their body. However, the disease can continue if it is not treated or if it is treated with the wrong drug. Some drugs are not effective because the parasite is resistant to them.

How will you diagnose a case of malaria?

The definite diagnosis is made by looking at the blood of an infected patient under the microscope (blood smear) and identifying the presence of the parasite. The patients’ blood is prepared under a slide with a specific stain to help identify the parasite. This is the most widely performed and accepted test.

Rapid diagnostic tests (antigen tests) are available that can give the diagnosis in a few minutes. It is recommended that a positive test is followed with a blood smear examination.

How long it take to recover from malaria?

It depends on the number of different factors like disease severity, the particular species of Plasmodium infecting the patient and the potential for drug resistance of the various species. In general, it takes about two weeks of treatment to be cured of this infection.

Can malaria reoccur after treatment?

Only two types (species) of parasites, Plasmodium vivax and P. ovale, have liver stages and can remain in the body for years without causing sickness. If not treated, these liver stages may reactivate and cause malaria attacks (“relapses”) after months or years without any symptoms.

Is there a vaccine for malaria?

There is currently no commercial vaccine available to prevent this infectious disease. The only approved vaccine as of 2015 is RTS,S. It requires four injections, and has a relatively low efficacy (26–50%). Due to this low efficacy, WHO does not recommend the use of RTS,S vaccine in babies between 6 and 12 weeks of age.

How can people prevent malaria?

Preventing mosquito bites by wearing covered clothes and using mosquito repellents.[Text Wrapping Break]• Anti-malarial tablets[Text Wrapping Break]• Mosquito nets[Text Wrapping Break]• Draining standing water[Text Wrapping Break]• Drinking lot of fluids[Text Wrapping Break]• Drinking orange juice[Text Wrapping Break]• Enema for cleansing bowels[Text Wrapping Break]• Consuming juicy fruits –grapes, oranges, pineapple, mango and papaya.[Text Wrapping Break]• Well balanced diet[Text Wrapping Break]• Grapefruit[Text Wrapping Break]• Avoiding –tea, coffee, fried foods, refined foods , white flour and spicy food[Text Wrapping Break]• Cinnamon is also effective for treating this infectious disease.

What is the treatment for malaria?

Besides supportive care, the medical team needs to decide on the appropriate antibiotics to treat the infection. The choice will depend on several factors, including[Text Wrapping Break]the specific species of parasite identified,

The most common antimalarial drugs include:

  • Chloroquine (Aralen)
  • Quinine sulfate (Qualaquin)
  • Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
  • Mefloquine.
  • Combination of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone)

Can you get infected by the disease only once?

Its not true, being infected once can still get infected by this disease, they do need protection to get rid from this infection.

Only one bite can cause malaria?

Yes. It only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to contract.

Can I get malaria only during the monsoons?

No, mosquitoes carrying the infection are active in summer too. Using mosquito repellents throughout the year is a must.

What is the prognosis of malaria?

If diagnosed early and if the appropriate antibiotics are available and used, the prognosis of this infectious disease is very good.

Which part of body is affected by Malaria?

During early stages only red blood cells get affected. Later, the infection mostly affects liver and spleen causing hepatomegaly and spleenomegaly. In advanced cases brain also gets affected causing cerebral malaria.

How homeopathy works?

Homeopathy is based on concept of complete case taking and prescribing medicines based on the symptomatology, however few indicated medicines are as follows-

-Arsenic Alb

-Eupatorium

-Pyrogenium

-Nat Mur

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