All Aspects Which Are Related To The Malaria
What is it?
Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease that can be life-threatening. It is a well-known infectious disease that is contracted by humans through the mosquito vector. Fortunately, not all mosquitoes are vectors for Malaria – only female Anopheles mosquitos. The bottom line is that Malaria is a dangerous disease that causes widespread damage.
What is the cause? (etiology or causation)
Malaria is caused by a unicellular protozoan parasite known as Plasmodium. There are several species of the Plasmodium parasite, but the most common killer is Plasmodium falciparum which accounts for approximately 50% of Malaria related deaths. The parasite infects organisms including mosquitos. Once the mosquito has completed its life cycle it can then infect humans with the parasite. Only the female Anopheles mosquito is a vector for Malaria. When the fully-grown female Anopheles mosquito feeds on the blood of a person the parasite is injected into the person through the mosquito’s saliva.
What is the history of Malaria? Has it always existed?
Historians and researchers believe that half of the humans that have ever lived since the beginning have died as a result of Malaria. Malaria is an ancient disease that has existed for over 30 million years – as long as homo sapiens have lived. Although it has existed for millions of years the parasite causing Malaria wasn’t discovered until the 1800s. Prior to this people believed Malaria was caused by foul-smelling swamps and wetlands, that seemed to have ‘bad air’. Hence the name Malaria derives from the Italian medieval phrase ‘mal aria’ meaning bad air. The Malaria parasite was discovered by … in … Then Laveran studied erythrocytes under a microscope and observed what happened to the RBC when they were infected by the parasite. Malaria is still a prevalent disease that kills thousands every year. (a timeline that includes where)
What is the like to experience Malaria?
When you contract Malaria, the symptoms will not appear until around a week after you were infected but this may depend on what species of Plasmodium you were infected by. A case study of three patients from three different countries shows the symptoms that they experienced. These are the most common symptoms for all Malaria cases. The patients also described the overall pain of Malaria two of the three cases were described as “worst pain possible”, whilst one explained the pain as “moderate”. “When my daughter was five years old, she fell seriously ill from malaria and had to be admitted to hospital for treatment. All I could do was watch helplessly from the sidelines, willing the medicine to work and hoping for a full recovery. My daughter survived this horrible disease. Sadly, many other children are not so fortunate.” Nekoye Otsyula, Vaccines Medical Manager, East Africa, GSK
What is the manner of development?
The Plasmodium parasite enters into the person through an infected mosquito’s saliva in the form of sporozoites. Sporozoites move through the bloodstream to the liver where they then insert into the liver cells where they can rapidly reproduce asexually. This stage precedes for 7-10 days after the beginning of the infection and no symptoms occur during this period. In the next stage, the sporozoites change to merozoites as they are the product of sporozoites that have undergone binary fission. Merozoites move out of the liver cells and into vessels where they can spread through the body and into the lungs. They sit in the lung capillaries and eventually the vesicles disintegrate and the merozoites can enter the bloodstream. A few infected blood cells can develop into sexual forms of the parasite known as gametocytes, these then circulate the blood and when a mosquito bites an infected human the cells are ingested and then can develop into mature sex cells called gametes. The gametes then can progress to become infectious cells and the cycle begins again when another person is bitten by a mosquito.
Where does it exist?
Malaria is endemic in over 100 countries. It is a common disease in tropical and subtropical countries and in areas where infected mosquito numbers are high. These are tropical/subtropical areas, warm & moist environments in counties including but not limited to sub-Saharan Africa, Indonesia, Vanuatu, the Solomon Islands. Malaria once existed globally but it has been eradicated in many parts of the world. The map shows where Malaria existed and where it exists now.
Will it always exist?
There is a great outlook for eliminating Malaria we have seen that it is possible to eradicate this disease which we have already seen in many developed nations – Australia being one of them. Many researchers believe that global eradication is within reach. The map shows the target for Malaria eradication. Epidemiologists are working hard to study the patterns of Malaria transmission, occurrence, and distribution to generate a better
How can it be treated?
Malaria can be treated by using a variety of prescription medications including Atovaquone-proguanil (Malarone®), Chloroquine, Artemether-lumefantrine (Coartem®), Mefloquine, Quinine. Quinine can be used in combination with Doxycycline, Clindamycin, Tetracycline.
The medication used varies with the area in which it was contracted, age, and access to a particular medication.
How can it be prevented?
The simplest way to prevent Malaria is by avoiding being bitten by infected mosquitos. This can be done by using insect repellent, bed nets, wearing covered clothing, avoiding areas of stagnant freshwater. It can also be prevented by taking anti-malarial medication such as Doxycycline.
How can it be controlled?
The best way to control Malaria is to prevent transmission of the Plasmodium parasite. This can be done through strict quarantine in countries where Malaria is eradicated to prevent re-emergence. There is currently no vaccine available to control Malaria, but many researchers are working to develop a vaccine. Creating a vaccine for Malaria has proved extra difficult as the Plasmodium parasite is very complex. Joe Cohen, a retired researcher from GSK has been part of the development of the Malaria vaccine for 30 years and said “When I started working on the project as a molecular biologist back in 1987, almost 80% of my time was spent in the laboratory, developing components of the vaccine.” Nine years later Cohen and his team at GSK along with the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research in Washington “made a breakthrough with our malaria candidate vaccine, RTS, S. … an amazing result.”
The vaccine was tested on volunteer patients where they saw that the vaccine “protected six out of seven volunteers who, after being immunized with RTS, S, were bitten by infected mosquitoes in the laboratory. This was an unprecedented result and a landmark in the field.” Cohen went on to state that there is “a long, clinical development” which is still continuing at this very moment.
Current measures to reduce the devasting effects of Malaria:
GSK is one of the many research bodies that are dedicated to helping prevent the spread of Malaria. A representative of GSK said “Today, we continue to tackle malaria on many fronts – from researching and developing medicines and vaccines to supporting community prevention and health worker training.” (Cdc.gov, 2019)
Medicines for Malaria Venture are an organization that is implementing programs that aid people facing challenges accessing medicines to receive successful treatment. By ensuring that everyone has access to a prompt treatment it reduces the risk of further transmission to non-infected mosquitoes and hence the spread of the Malarial parasite to more people.
Health Direct, An Australian Government website advises: “If you are traveling to a malaria-infected area, you should take antimalarial medication. Medication must be taken before, during, and after travel.” This is important information to prevent the transmission of Malaria to Australians.
- Kills 50 times more people every year than what Ebola has done in its lifetime.
- Right now, there are 200 million people infected by Malaria
- Every two minutes a child dies of Malaria