Mosquito Facts: Malaria

Approximately 300 million people worldwide are affected by malaria and between 1 and 1.5 million people die from it every year, but it is almost wiped out in the United States. The disease is frequently a problem in developing countries with warm climates. If you travel to these countries, you are at risk. People get malaria by being bitten by an infective female Anopheles mosquito. Only Anopheles mosquitoes can spread malaria and they must have been contaminated through an earlier blood meal taken on a contaminated being. When a mosquito bites an infected person, a little amount of blood is taken in which contains microscopic malaria parasites. About 1 week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito’s saliva and are injected into the person being bitten. Because the malaria parasite is found in red blood cells of an infected person, malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or the shared employ of needles or syringes contaminated with blood.

Symptoms of malaria comprise fever, headache, and vomiting. Malaria may reason anemia and jaundice (fair coloring of the skin and eyes) because of the loss of red blood cells. Malaria is not extending from person to person like a cold or the flu, and it cannot be sexually transmitted. You cannot get malaria from casual contact with malaria-infected people, such as sitting next to someone who has malaria. Treatment of malaria involves supportive measures as well as exact anti malarial drugs. Anti-malarial drugs can be prescribed to people traveling to areas where malaria is prevalent.

The types of anti-malarial medications prescribed will rely on the drug-resistance patterns in the areas to be visited. Chloroquine is an often used anti-malarial medication, but quinidine or quinine, or the amalgamation of pyrimethamine and sulfadoxine, are given for chloroquine-resistant infections.

People on anti-malarial medications may still become infected. Prevention is better than cure. Avoid mosquito bites by wearing protective clothing over the arms and legs and using screens on windows. Use of mosquito nets and insect repellents can decrease the chance of getting infected.

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