Malaria : Symptoms, Causes, Treatment and Prevention

Definition

Malaria is one of the major public health problems of the country. Around 1.5 million confirmed cases are reported annually by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), of which 40–50% is due to Plasmodium falciparum. Malaria is curable if effective treatment is started early. Delay in treatment may lead to serious consequences including death. Prompt and effective treatment is also important for controlling the transmission of malaria.

Epidemiology

  • 2 billion people live in areas at risk of malaria transmission in 106 countries and territories.
  • The World Health Organization estimates that in 2016 malaria caused 216 million clinical episodes and 445,000 deaths.

Types

Parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria. Although there are many species of Plasmodium, only five infect humans and cause malaria.

P. falciparum: Found in tropical and subtropical areas; major contributor to deaths from severe malaria

P. vivax: Found in Asia and Latin America; has a dormant stage that can cause relapses

P. ovale: Found in Africa and the Pacific islands

P. malariae: Worldwide; can cause a chronic infection

P. knowlesi: Found throughout Southeast Asia; can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection

Parasite life cycle

The life cycle of the falciparum malaria parasite is complex. When an infectious mosquito feeds on a human being, parasites (called sporozoites) are injected into the bloodstream. From here they travel directly to the liver where they mature for about 6 days. At this stage, there are no symptoms of disease in the person who has been infected.

The life cycle of the malarial parasite

Infections begin when the following stages occur:

  1. Sporozoites, the infective stages, are injected by a mosquito and are carried around the body until they invade liver hepatocytes.
  2. Then it undergoes a phase of asexual multiplication (exoerythrocytic schizogony) resulting in the production of many uninucleate merozoites. These merozoites flood out into the blood and invade red blood cells.
  3. They initiate the second phase of asexual multiplication (erythrocytic schizogony) resulting in the production of about 8-16 merozoites which invade new red blood cells.
  4. The infection progresses, some young merozoites develop into male and female gametocytes that circulate in the peripheral blood until they are taken up by a female anopheline mosquito when it feeds.
  5. Within the mosquito the gametocytes mature into male and female gametes, fertilization occurs and a motile zygote (ookinete) is formed within the lumen of the mosquito gut, the beginning of a process known as sporogony. The ookinete penetrates the gut wall and becomes conspicuous oocyst within which another phase of multiplication occurs resulting in the formation of sporozoites that migrate to the salivary glands of a mosquito and are injected when the mosquito feeds on a new host.

Risk factors

  • Rain and increased water bodies are appropriate for mosquito breeding and disease transmission.
  • Young children and infants.
  • Pregnant women.
  • People with weak immunity are more susceptible to the risk of malaria.
  • People traveling to malaria-infected areas.
  • Poverty and lack of health awareness and education contribute to spreading the disease and increasing mortality rate around the world.

Causes

Malaria can occur if a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites you. There are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans: Plasmodium vivaxP. ovaleP. malariae, and P. falciparumP. falciparum causes a more severe form of the disease and those who contract this form of malaria have a higher risk of death. An infected mother can also pass the disease to her baby at birth. This is known as congenital malaria. Malaria is transmitted by blood, so it can also be transmitted through:

  • An organ transplant
  • A transfusion
  • Use of shared needles or syringes

Symptoms

A malaria infection is generally characterized by recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Shivering
  • Joint pain
  • Vomiting
  • Hemolytic anemia
  • Jaundice
  • Hemoglobin in the urine
  • Retinal damage
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Bloody stools
  • Abdominal pain
  • Shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
  • High fever
  • Profuse sweating

Complications

  • Malaria is a serious illness that can be fatal if not diagnosed and treated quickly. Pregnant women, babies, young children and the elderly are, particularly at risk.
  • The Plasmodium falciparum parasite causes the most severe malaria symptoms and most deaths.
  • As complications of severe malaria can occur within hours or days of the first symptoms, it’s important to seek urgent medical help as soon as possible.

Other complications that can arise as a result of severe malaria include:

  • liver failure and jaundice – yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes
  • shock – a sudden drop in blood pressure
  • pulmonary edema – a build-up of fluid in the lungs
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS)
  • abnormally low blood sugar – hypoglycemia
  • kidney failure
  • swelling and rupturing of the spleen
  • dehydration

Diagnosis and test

Blood tests can show the presence of the parasite and help tailor treatment by determining:

  • Whether you have malaria
  • Which type of malaria parasite is causing your symptoms
  • If your infection is caused by a parasite resistant to certain drugs
  • Whether the disease is affecting any of your vital organs

Some blood tests can take several days to complete, while others can produce results in less than 15 minutes.

Blood test

Treatment and medications

Besides supportive care, the medical team needs to decide on the appropriate antibiotics to treat malaria. The choice will depend on several factors, including

  • The specific species of parasite identified,
  • The severity of symptoms, and
  • Determination of drug resistance based on the geographic area where the patient traveled.

Physicians will administer the medication in pill form or as an intravenous antibiotic depending on above factors.

The most commonly used medications are

  • Chloroquine (Aralen),
  • Doxycycline (Vibramycin, Oracea, Adoxa, Atridox),
  • Quinine (Qualaquin),
  • Mefloquine (Lariam),
  • Atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone),
  • Artemether/lumefantrine (Coartem), and
  • Primaquine phosphate (Primaquine).

Here are some home remedies for malaria

1. Grapefruit

Grapefruit contains a substance called quinine which is said to neutralize malaria inducing parasites. It aides in destroying the parasites and strengthens the immune system. A malaria patient should consume grapefruit and grapefruit juice to combat the disease.

2. Cinnamon

Cinnamon has great medicinal values and it contains cinnamaldehyde which provides aid against inflammation. This spice is full of anti-parasitic qualities. Its consumption provides immediate relief to body ache that is usually attached to malaria. It can be boiled with water and the concoction can be taken with honey. It also reverses the loss of appetite, cramps, nausea etc. Consuming this concoction can be a very useful home remedy to fight malaria.

3. Holy basil

Often the major symptoms of malaria include body and joint pains. Holy basil is a popular herb which eases inflammation and joint pains. It can be an amazing home remedy to treat the symptoms of malaria. It is also included in many ayurvedic medicines and is said to cure many diseases including malaria. Basil can be infused with tea or can be boiled with water and consumed with honey by the person suffering from malaria.

4. Fever nuts

These are nuts which contain seeds with immense medicinal properties. It breaks the malaria fever and boosts the immune system. This herb effectively treats the symptom of malaria and helps in curing the person suffering from malaria fever by reducing the soaring body temperatures. Fever nuts are one of the best home remedies that can be used against malaria symptoms. This is one of the best home remedy one can do to prevent malaria.

5. Ginger

Possible qualities of ginger help in relieving nausea, fever, body ache and in improving the appetite. Ginger is one food item which is available in every Indian household and can be used as a home remedy to fight malaria and is symptoms. It can be boiled with water and can be consumed to speed up the recovery process. It has natural antibiotic properties which can be enhanced if it is taken with raisins. This is one of the best home remedy one can do to prevent malaria.

Prevention

  • Use mosquito repellents regularly – apply it to your skin, especially to all exposed areas, and clothing. For your skin, opt for a repellent that contains at least a 10 percent concentration of DEET.
  • Use camphor as a repellent- you can light camphor in the room with all the doors and windows closed. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes to keep the mosquitoes away. You can also use the lemon and clove technique- just stick some cloves in a half-sliced lemon and keep it near your bed while you sleep.
  • Use a mosquito bed net while sleeping.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks.
  • Wear covered shoes when outside.
  • Avoid exercising outdoors as mosquitoes get attracted to sweat.
  • Empty and clean all containers that hold water such as flower pots, flower vases, and animal dishes – at least once a week – to prevent mosquitoes from breeding at your house.
  • Keep your surroundings clean, ensuring that there is no stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes?
  • Try to stay in air-conditioned or well-screened housing.

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72 comments

  1. Happyness Gideon

    how doxacilline is a treatment of malaria

    • This medication is also used to prevent malaria. This medication is known as a tetracycline antibiotic. It works by stopping the growth of bacteria.

  2. I sincerely appreciate your hand work. At least, one can help his or herself.

  3. Thanks so much

  4. Please tell me aboute the doseses of drug which treat malaria…

    • 1.500 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) orally on the same day each week
      2. 60 kg or more: 1 g chloroquine phosphate (600 mg base) orally as an initial dose, followed by 500 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) orally after 6 to 8 hours, then 500 mg chloroquine phosphate (300 mg base) orally once a day on the next 2 consecutive days
      Total dose: 2.5 g chloroquine phosphate (1.5 g base) in 3 days

  5. Npoanden Bitandam Nash

    I congratulated u for ur hand out n support

  6. Wonderful one, thank you so much for your help

  7. quinine has been proved to having side effects especially on our senses of hearing, seeing and others. therefore is it still regarded for malaria treatment

  8. is duo cotexcin effective for malaria treatment?

  9. How can jaundice be cured for a baby of 5days.the eye is yellow.
    which drug is good to cure it or any thing that can be given to the baby to cure that please. I need urgent reply . thanks

  10. Jonathan mangala

    at which intervals is fansida given as a prophylaxis. doxycycline also
    what about cotrimoxazol as a prophylaxis .need urgent answer coz I’m presenting on malaria.

  11. thank for educating us. I have good through the causes and how to prevent it but I have treated malaria time without number . how can I get rid of it , am tried

  12. Gadomi Ishiaku AmshiYour Name

    welldone ,more on severe malaria

  13. l will like you to do more research on current medications. You have done a wonderful job. Thanks for the exposition

  14. Tapuwanashe Muzvidziwa

    running out of words this is actually fabulous

  15. incase of sever anaemic condition what we do?? or suppose a person suffering from jaundice

    • Hemolytic jaundice is treated with iron supplements. Hemolytic diseases are treated, if at all, with medications and blood transfusions, except in the case of an enlarged spleen. Surgical removal of the spleen (splenectomy) can sometimes cure hemolytic anemia.

  16. what Ciprofloxacin

    • Ciprofloxacin is an antibiotic used to treat a number of bacterial infections. This includes bone and joint infections, intra abdominal infections, certain type of infectious diarrhea, respiratory tract infections, skin infections, typhoid fever, and urinary tract infections, among others.

  17. Does malaria causes short of pennis

  18. Does malaria causes bad odour in mouth

    • Bad breath is reported only by a few people with Malaria. Depending on their food and bad bowel hygiene it may cause bad breath during malaria.

  19. Thanks,helpful information…
    my immune system is so weak that I can get infected by malaria even three times in a month…
    just a single mosquito bite gets me infected,I also develop severe soul throats during the infected period.doctors here have given up on me and there’s nothing they can do…..
    is there any ant malaria I can use just help me stay a longer period without being infected?have tried all types of repellents and nothing seem work…

  20. Govinson Charles

    thank for the out saving.

  21. Decontee Kieh Wisseh

    Thanks for these important information. it really refresh my mind on malaria

  22. i like your message about how to confirm if someone around us got malaria.

  23. Is chloroquine still effective and can it be taken along with any of the other malaria drugs. Thanks

  24. Tominiyi Ogechi

    What best antimalaria should be used in treating children?

    • Chloroquine phosphate (Aralen)
      Quinine (Qualaquin)
      Quinidine gluconate
      Doxycycline (Vibramycin, Adoxa, Doryx)

  25. can 1 malaria affected person in the family spread malaria to family?

  26. Anthony Chidozie

    Very interesting and educative.I sign five stars for you.

  27. please, my daughter of almond 2yrs,was given d following amodiaquine suspension, artesunate for children and paracetamol syrup. Her temperature still burns at night and this is the second day of treatment. I am confused on wat next to do. should I opt for injections or give it time, if the medications prescribed by the doctor is OK?

  28. I have treated maleria several times and I am tired of treating it.is there any cure for maleria?

  29. SEPHANIA PHILINGSON

    for those in poor area they must seek for health care

  30. woe its such a wonfergul way of learning.thánks a lot for the apps service.

  31. this app is very good

  32. how does doxycycline treat malaria? n what about artesunate which is now the first line treatment of malaria

    • there is no first or second line. ACT i.e artesunate or related compounds in combination treatment with doxycycline, clindamycin, mefloquine or sul plus pyre is standard.

  33. plasmodium vivax is more common in india …

  34. somehow for avoiding side effects of malaria … hygiene is most important .. prevention is better than cure

  35. Well appreciated. However, kindly expantiate on the Lemon-Clove Technigue in the Malaria Prevention. thanks

  36. Your Name isa Bulama

    this app very good

  37. this app very good

  38. good god bless you

  39. Abba Abdullahi Gashua

    Good

  40. Does Malaria make once legs and hands to be cold. Tests show sugar level on the border line to a person 72yrs age

  41. Does severe form of malaria causes itching of the body?

  42. what is side effect of ALU tabs

  43. can I repeat another medicine after I have taken drugs and I still experiencing the symptoms. can I take chloroquine tablet for next treatment. thanks for the good work.

  44. Doxycycline is an antibiotic. how treat malaria

  45. What other alternatives for treatment ov malaria concerns on natural treatments.

  46. Sir.What is the major Symptom of Malaria(P.falciparum)???

    • The major symptoms of malaria include:
      shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe, high fever, profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, anemia, muscle, pain, convulsions, coma, and bloody stools.

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