Malaria Explained - Causes And Malaria Treatment

Published: 06th November 2007
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Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including parts of the Americas, Asia, and Africa. Each year, it causes disease in approximately 650 million people and kills between one and three million, most of them young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. Malaria is commonly associated with poverty, but is also a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development.

If you're going on holiday or if you're going to be working in malarial areas most travel companies and Doctors will advise what sort of precaution and prevention you will need. Some of preventive drugs can have side affects but it will be certainly worth the risk rather than catching Malaria, and the most frightening thing for most people is that it can take a week before any Malaria symptoms can be detected.

How is malaria transmitted?

As is well known, malaria is transmitted to people by mosquitos. The scientific name of the particular type of mosquito is Anopheles. An infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person and injects the malaria parasites into the blood. The malaria parasites then travel through the bloodstream to the liver and eventually infect the red blood cells.


* Chills
* Fever
* Sweating
* Headache
* Nausea
* Vomiting
* Muscle pain
* Anemia

Other signs and symptoms include:

* Diarrhea

Exams and Tests

The doctor will perform blood tests to determine if you have malaria and, if so, which type.

* These tests sometimes are difficult to complete and may have to be repeated or the results sent to another hospital.
* Doctors also may perform DNA tests.


A malaria infection, particularly with P. falciparum, requires prompt evaluation and treatment. In most cases, doctors can treat malaria effectively with one or more of the following medications:

* Chloroquine (Aralen)
* Quinine sulfate
* Hydroxychloroquine (Plaquenil)
* Combination of sulfadoxine and pyrimethamine (Fansidar)
* Mefloquine (Lariam)
* Combination of atovaquone and proguanil (Malarone)
* Doxycycline (Doryx, Vibramycin, others)


Health authorities try to prevent malaria by using mosquito-control programs aimed at killing mosquitoes that carry the disease. If you travel to an area of the world with a high risk for malaria, you can install window screens, use insect repellents, and place mosquito netting over beds. Insecticide-impregnated bed netting has successfully reduced the number of malarial deaths among African children.

One of the major problems is the steady increase in resistance of the infection to the drugs used in both prevention and treatment. There's also been some controversy about possible side-effects. Always talk to your doctor if you are worried - don't just stop taking antimalarials without getting medical advice.

If you do develop symptoms, get help quickly - and don't forget to tell the doctor you've travelled to a malarial area.

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