Malaria is an acute disease which humans have been fighting for generations. The disease of malaria is caused by a tiny protozoan named Plasmodium, spread through the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. There are various species of this plasmodium which are vivax, malaria, and falciparum each responsible for causing a different type of malaria fever.
Out of all the variants, Plasmodium falciparum is the deadliest and can be fatal at the same time. The fact that makes the plasmodium protozoan dangerous, is the fact that the virulence of the species has a special feature to change and modify its shape in accordance to the host environment during the various stages of the life cycle in the human red blood cells.
What causes Malaria?
The plasmodium parasite finds its way to the human red blood cells through the vector of the disease which is the female Anopheles mosquito. When the infected Anopheles bites a healthy human it transmits the malarial sporozoites into the host. The sporozoites travel within the body fluids and accumulate in the liver,
The liver is the hub of the immune system of the body and faces pathogens first. But, due to the ability of the microbes to change their physiology, become comfortable in the host’s body, and also multiply in number. From the liver, they rupture into the blood cells and hence damage the human erythrocytes.
Some of the waste toxin hence released by the malarial toxic is observed to make the human RBC stickier. This sticky nature causes the protozoans to stick to the walls of the blood vessels and evade the transport of valuable substances across the spleen, making the human immune system weaker each passing day
The chills that the patient faces are due to a toxin named hemozoin which is released by the malarial pathogen post-destruction of the red blood cells. Overall, the life cycle of the malarial pathogen Plasmodium has two hosts in its life cycle one being the healthy human who is getting infected, and also the female Anopheles mosquito becomes the carrier of the pathogen.
What are the symptoms of malaria?
The early symptoms of malaria are usually confused with those of common flu- caused by bacteria and parasites which include:
- Fever and Chills.
- Profuse sweating
- Body aches and s sense of tiredness
- Nausea, loss of appetite, and vomiting.
The symptoms of malaria also vary from one person to another depending upon your age, geographical location, immunity, your overall internal physiology, and also the type of malarial pathogen-infected. In extreme cases, malaria can lead to a substantial decrease in the functioning of the nervous system causing seizures.
After the probable symptoms, one should immediately take the diagnosis. It is very important to get tested so that the affected individual can get the proper treatment and also prevent the further spread of the disease among the population.
Some of the most recommended tests among the medical fraternity are:
- Serology – Serology has been recently introduced to the malaria test procedure to identify the markers of plasmodium exposure, forming the basis of the hemozoin testing.
- PCR – PCR is a method that involves making several copies of a specific DNA segment through a process called amplification. The amplification procedure helps to diagnose the presence or absence of genes that help to identify the pathogens.
- Microscopy – In this malaria test procedure, a sample of blood is collected from the individual. The sample is tested with methanol and stained and then manually observed under the microscope. It is more of a manual procedure which leaves room for a lack of accuracy in results.
- ELISA – Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a popular antigen testing procedure that includes biochemical techniques for detecting cases of malaria pathogens.
Affecting more than 400 million individuals across the globe and being the cause of 1-2 million deaths a year, Malaria stands to be the cause of the majority of preventive deaths. Hence the Malaria test should be quick and the treatment shall be done under a doctor’s consultancy.
An individual’s current health condition, medical history, and age are some of the factors which decide the type of medication one may face. Cases of elderly, infants and pregnant women who did not take proper medication as a preventive measure for the same should be given special attention
One of the quickest ways to treat malaria is the procedure of blood transfusion. It removes parasites from the body in a way that there is no blood loss in the patient’s body as the loss of the patient’s blood is constantly circulated in exchange for the donor’s blood.
The prevention of fatal malaria fever is
- Use of mosquito nets and application of mosquito repellent creams.
- Cover most parts of your body by wearing long-sleeved clothing.
- Spraying insecticide or repellent liquids on the clothing.
- Take an anti-malarial medicine as prescribed before travelling to avoid the chance of spreading the protozoan in case of getting affected.
In case of travelling and lack of availability of proper medication, one can take some preventive medication from their doctor and have a prescribed SOP for the same. Skill in case of prolonged occurrence of symptoms one should seek medical attention as soon as possible. Be sure to seek assistance from experts to gain more knowledge about this disease.