Tuesday, 8 May 2012

THE SCARY MALARIA


Malaria

This disorder is transmitted by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquito, and is caused by the parasite Plasmodium. Patients usually begin having symptoms one to three weeks after the mosquito bite. The geographic distribution is Central and South America, Africa and Asia. Once inside the blood stream the parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting more red blood cells. The rupturing of the red blood cells causes the classic cyclic fevers. The CDC estimates this as one of the most common diseases killing over 1 million people every year. There are five different types of the Plasmodium parasite with Plasmodium falciparum being most dangerous.


Symptoms:
Symptoms depend on the type of malaria and include: chills, fever, outbreaks of fever every 48 to 72 hours, sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, low red blood cells (anemia), bloody stools, jaundice, convulsion, coma and death.

Treatment:
Anti-malarial drugs can be prescribed to people traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent. According to the CDC, travelers going to South America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Asia, and the South Pacific should take one of the following drugs: mefloquine, doxycycline, chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, or malarone. Treatment of acute malaria depends on the region visited and the Plasmodium type identified.

Malaria blood smears will be taken at 6 to 12 hour intervals to confirm the diagnosis. The diagnosis is made by seeing the parasites in the blood.

Other Specific Tests:
Thin and thick smears of blood