Information on Malaria and It’s Many Deadly Symptoms
Malaria is a serious infectious disease caused by a microbial parasite called Plasmodium. This parasite infects mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. The female Anopheles mosquito transmits this disease to humans through mosquito bites. Of the eleven species of the genus Plasmodium, five are known to cause malaria in humans. These are Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium knowlesi; the first strain being the most dangerous. Malaria parasites affect the red blood cells of an infected person; therefore, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusions, organ transplants, or shared use of blood-contaminated needles or syringes. Malaria can also be transmitted from a mother to her unborn child before or during childbirth.
Malaria affects approximately 300 to 500 million people each year, with 90% of cases reported in Africa, South and Southeast Asia and parts of South America. It also results in over a million casualties each year; most of which take place in sub-Saharan Africa. While malaria is currently curable; the disease becomes more difficult to manage in later stages and can also lead to serious secondary complications such as high fevers, coma and hallucinations. Therefore, it is imperative to recognize the symptoms of malaria in the early stages and treat it aggressively. The most common and significant symptoms of malaria are explained below.
1. The main symptoms of relatively mild uncomplicated malaria include recurring fever (once every 2-3 days), headache, nausea and vomiting, chills, body aches, and general weakness.
2. If the malaria is due to infection with the Plasmodium falciparum strain; more severe symptoms such as mild jaundice, rapid heartbeat and enlarged spleen are usually observed.
3. Cerebral malaria is caused when red blood cells infected with the Plasmodium parasite block the blood’s path to the brain. This leads to a lack of blood and oxygen supply to many parts of the brain. The main symptoms of cerebral malaria are intracranial pressure, seizures and severe anemia.