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Understanding Malaria

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1.     Overview
Malaria is one of the most dangerous diseases worldwide; especially in developing countries with warm climates. This disease is caused by a parasite. You’ll get this disease when an infected mosquito bites you. You should be very careful when you travel to some countries that have a high risk of this disease. There are 4 types of Malaria that correspond with 4 related types of parasites: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium malariae, and Plasmodium ovale.
2.     Symptoms
       The symptoms of Malaria include 3 typical stages: chills, fever,and then sweating. Along with chills, the person is likely to have headache, malaise, vomiting, fatigue, muscular pains, occasional nausea, and diarrhea. In the first 1 or 2 hours of infection, the body temperature rises, and the skin is hot and dry. Then the body temperature falls. The infected person feels tired, weak, and sleepy. About 10 to 16 days after the infectious mosquito bites a person, the first symptom appears and the red blood cells get infected. As the red blood cells get infected and broken down , Malaria attacks can recur at regular time periods. For example, Plasmodium vivax  and P. ovale are 2 days, and P.mailariae is 3 days.
3.     Transmission
       Typically, people get Malaria disease by infected mosquitoes that belong to the genus Anopheles. In some cases, people may get Malaria from contaminated blood. Malaria can also be transmitted from a mother to her fetus before or during delivery. Because Malaria parasites are found in red blood cells, Malaria can also be transmitted by blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared uses of needles or syringes contaminated with blood.
4.     Diagnosis
       Healthcare providers should suspect Malaria in anybody who has been in the tropics recently, who received a blood transfusion, and who develops a fever and other signs that  like a flu. They can examine the blood smears that are taken from a finger prick under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. A thick smear makes it possible to examine a large amount of blood. Then ,the species of parasite can be identified by looking at the corresponding thin smear. Because of the possibility of mixed infections, these techniques are very important for deciding the best treatment. For example, a person can be infected with Plasmodium vivax and P.falciparum.
5.     Treatment
          In most cases, healthcare providers can successfully treat patients with Malaria. In order to decide which medicine to use for treatment, they should try to identify the species of parasite responsible and the location where the patient was infected.  International travel clinics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the World Health Organization always offer up-to-date information on the geography of malaria.
6.     Prevention
Before leaving home, anyone that will travel to an area of Malaria should consult a healthcare provider, an international travel clinic, a local health department, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), or the World Health Organization (WHO) to get advice on what medicine to take before, during , or after the trip.






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