Isn’t it just so annoying when there are mosquitoes in your room? Not only do they bite, but they also buzz and make a really annoying sound. Now, their bites not only result in bumps on your body but also carry a deadly disease known as Malaria. This is the story of Malaria.
What is Malaria?
Plasmodium parasites cause and spread Malaria through the bites of the infectious female Anopheles also known as Malaria vectors. The infection leads to chills, fever and other flu-like symptoms. If left untreated, this disease can be deadly. Children are at most risk for it.
Who is at Risk?
Anopheles mosquitoes lay their eggs in water, that hatch into larvae, eventually emerging as adult mosquitoes. The female mosquitoes seek a blood meal to nurture their eggs. Each species of Anopheles mosquito has its own preferred aquatic habitat; for example, some prefer small, shallow collections of fresh water, such as puddles and hoof prints, that are abundant during the monsoons in tropical countries.
In 2016, nearly half of the world’s population was at risk of malaria. Most of these cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. The WHO regions of South- East Asia, Eastern Mediterranean, Western Pacific and America are also at risk. In 2016, 91 countries and areas had ongoing malaria transmission.
Transmission is more intense in places where the mosquito lifespan is longer and where it prefers to bite humans rather than other animals. The long lifespan and strong human-biting habit of the African vector species is the main reason why nearly 90% of the world’s malaria cases are in Africa.
Signs and Symptoms of Malaria
Malaria symptoms usually appear 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms are:
- a headache
These can be mild and difficult to recognize it. Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms:
- severe anaemia
- extreme weakness
- muscle aches
- pain in the abdomen, back, and joints
Malaria is a dangerous cause of fever in children. Fever is a symptom, not a disease. It is the body’s response to infections. If a child shows several of these signs, see a doctor right away. Once treated, symptoms usually go away in a few days.
The treatment of malaria can be done with specific medications. The type and length of treatment depend on the:
- Type of parasites
- Severity of illness
- Age of the child
- The pattern of drug resistance in the area traveled.
A child may need to see a doctor specializing in infectious diseases. Extreme cases of malaria might require a special type of blood transfusion.
In our houses we need to take some steps to prevent ourselves from malaria:
- Use a bed net treated with insecticide
- Use insect repellents
- Wear protective clothing like long sleeves and pants
- Stay indoors from dusk to dawn
- Use air conditioners where available, instead of opening windows
If you plan to visit a malarial area, you need to prepare to avoid infection. Antimalarial medications are the most common way to prevent infection. It is important to take the medication exactly as per the instructions.
Question For You
Q. Which of the following vector-borne diseases caused by Aedes mosquitoes?
a. Malaria and Sleeping sickness
b. Kala-azar and Filariasis
c. Dengue and Chikungunya
d. Ascariasis and Filariasis
Ans: c. Dengue and Chikungunya. Dengue and chikungunya are the viral diseases which are caused in the humans. The diseases are transmitted by the bite of the Aedes mosquito and carrying of the blood from the infected person to the healthy person. Only the female mosquitoes are involved in the transmission of the disease.