World Malaria Day: Top 10 facts you should know about malaria

World Malaria Day: Top 10 facts you should know about malaria

What do you know about malaria? Read this article to clear all your myths about malaria.

Written by Pavitra Sampath |Updated : April 22, 2015 4:14 PM IST

April 25 is World Malaria Day

Malaria is a vector-borne disease that is quite common during monsoons. As stagnant water provides a breeding space for mosquitoes and thus, increase your risk of getting infected with the Plasmodium parasite. There has been a significant increase in the number of people suffering from malaria every year due to lack of proper awareness. So to help you out, we provide you top 10 facts about malaria you should be aware of. Here's how to avoid monsoon-related diseases.

Fact #1

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Malaria is transmitted when a mosquito infected with the Plasmodium parasite bites a person. The mosquito acts as a carrier of the Plasmodium meaning when a mosquito bites a person infected with malaria, there is a high chance that the parasite can be spread to a healthy individual when this mosquito bites that person.

Fact #2

Did you know that malaria can be caused by four variants of the same parasite? Well, here are the four common species of the Plasmodium

Plasmodium Vivax: It is the most common types of Malaria parasite that is found in India. It is estimated that about 60% of Indians are infected with this type. Although not fatal, it can lead to liver and kidney failure and also has the highest possibility of recurrence.

Plasmodium Ovale: This is the rarest form of malaria found in India but is most rampant in countries like Nigeria and other West African countries. Read in detail about how malaria parasites kill humans.

Plasmodium Falciparum: This is the most dangerous type of malaria and is known to affect the brain and nervous system leading to death. Plasmodium Falciparum is rampant in India, and it has been found that it is also resistant to conventional antimalarial therapies.

Plasmodium Malariae: This type of malaria has less than 1% presence in the country. It is not known to cause death but can severely damage the immune system.

Fact #3

Malaria is especially dangerous for pregnant women as the parasite can pass into the mother s womb and infect the foetus as well. Once the foetus has been infected with malaria, it can lead to the baby being born with a low birth weight and may lead to death. Here are 5 ways to save your baby from mosquito bites.

Fact #4

About one million cases of malaria are reported in India every year. In 2010 an estimated 219 million cases occurred worldwide, and 660,000 people died, with 91% of the deceased being from the African Region. Recent news suggests that the WHO had estimated the number of cases occurring in India to fall by almost 50-75% by the year 2015. But there are reports that the Indian government might not be able to achieve this target because of lack of funds.

Fact #5

The female Anopheles mosquito is responsible or transmission of the parasite from already infected person to a healthy individual. This type of mosquito is usually small to medium sized, and breeding is encountered following the monsoon. It breeds in rainwater pools and puddles, burrow-pits, irrigation channels, seepage and sluggish streams. Have you ever tried these innovative ways to keep your home mosquito free?

Fact #6

The common line of treatment for malaria was to administer the drug chloroquine. But over the years, it has been found that the drug does not provide effective result against malaria caused by P. falciparum. This variant has more or less developed a resistance to the drug rendering it ineffective. The development of resistance to drugs has lead to a breed of chloroquine-resistant mosquitoes, and the disease is called multi-drug resistant malaria.

Fact #7

The main ingredient in all antimalarial drugs is a plant extract from a plant called Qinghaosu that produces chloroquine.

Fact #8

The newest drug therapies used to treat malaria in India mainly focus on using a combination of drugs. These include artimisinin based combination therapy, analogs of existing drugs (different and more potent forms of the drug) namely atovaquonone and proguanil and drug-resistant reversers.

Combination therapy is preferred over the conventional therapies because it is less likely for the parasite to become resistant and also helps reduce the chances of recurrence. Because of this, the drug policy and treatment plan for treating malaria has recently been changed. The new policies have been employed in high risk areas such as Assam, Andhra Pradesh, Chattisgarh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Orissa, Arunachal Pradesh and few other regions. Read about 11 complications of malaria you should know.

Fact #9

Even after you are cured of the disease, there is an increased risk that malaria can recur. This is the reason, the WHO recommends continuing anti plasmodium therapy for at least three to five days, depending on the type of malaria. It will ensure the parasite is completely eradicated from the patient's body as it has a tendency to remain dormant in the liver and recur once the person s immune system has been compromised.

Fact #10

The newest line of drugs, which are still in the research phase, includes a drug called Spiroindolones. This drug has been found to have the potential to block the parasite s signaling pathway leading to its destruction at an early stage in the disease. Another novel drug is one that causes a salt overload within the parasite s body leading to its death. This drug promises to beat the possibility of the parasite developing a resistance to the drug and provide cheap treatment options to developing countries. Here are top 5 promising research in malaria treatment, prevention and control.

Lastly, malaria is a completely preventable disease. It cannot be transmitted from one person to another without a vector (mosquito) and is completely curable. All we need to do is get the right treatment and take the right precautions to eradicate malaria completely.

Image Source: Getty Images

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