Malaria: Everything You Wanted To Know About It

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Malaria: Everything You Wanted To Know About It

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted by bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the mosquitoes multiply in the liver and then infect the red blood cells.


Key facts

  • Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female mosquitoes.
  • About 3.2 billion people, almost half of the world’s population are at risk of malaria.
  • Young children, pregnant women and non-immune travellers from Malaria-free areas are particularly vulnerable to the disease when they become infected.
  • Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.
  • Between 2000 and 2015, Malaria incidence (the rate of new cases) fell by 37% globally. In that same period, Malaria death rates fell by 60% globally among all age groups, and by 65% among children under 5.
  • Sub-Saharan Africa carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2015, the region was home to 89% of malaria cases and 91% of malaria deaths.
  • Symptoms
  • Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a now -immune individual symptoms appear within 7 days or 15 days after the infective mosquito bite.
  • The first symptoms are fever, headache, chills, vomiting- it may be difficult to recognise Malaria. If not treated within 24 hours P.falciparum Malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
  • Children with severe Malaria can frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ involvement is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.


Who is at Risk?

In 2015, approximately 3.2 billion people nearly half of the world’s population are at risk of Malaria. Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, Asia, Latin America, and, to a lesser extent the Middle East and parts of Europe, are also at risk. In 2015, 97 countries and territories had ongoing Malaria transmission.

Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. These include infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travellers.National Malaria control programmes need to take special measures to protect these population groups from Malaria infection, taking into consideration their specific circumstances.

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