Malaria

Malaria is endemic to 106 nations and threatens half of the global population. Each year it strikes up to half a billion people and of those at least one million will die.

Malaria is borne and transmitted by mosquitoes, specifically of the Anopheles genus. The female Anopheles is the only insect capable of harbouring the human malaria parasite, as the males do not bite. The females use the protein in human blood to feed their eggs. The females need to feed on blood at least every three days.

There are five species of malaria parasites that infect humans. The most aggressive is Plasmodium falciparum, with almost half of malaria cases caused by this parasite.

Preventing Malaria

The best protection against malaria is to guard against mosquito bites. Mosquitoes that carry the malaria virus tend to bite in the morning and at dusk. It is best to stay covered up during these times, wearing loose fitting clothes, as mosquitoes can bite through thin material. You should also wear mosquito repellent. This can be bought from most high street pharmacies and chemists. You should also consider investing in a mosquito net to sleep beneath or check that any hotels you are booked in to have mosquito nets in their rooms.

Symptons of Malaria

Early physical symptoms of malaria include headache and muscle pains. These signs show that the immune system has started to fight the disease. Other symptoms may include:

  • Sweats & Chills
  • Diarrhoea
  • High temperature

It can take several days for symptoms to become noticeable, and in some cases up to several weeks or even a year. If you have been in a high-risk area and feel symptomatic, early detection & treatment usually proves successful in most patients.

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