WHAT IS MALARIA?
Malaria is a life-threatening disease that is caused by parasites which are transmitted through the bites of mosquitoes in the human body.
It is one of the most notorious communicable diseases. Malaria is caused by the infected female mosquitoes through the saliva. It is introduced into the host when the mosquito feeds on the blood of the victim.
There was a total of 212 million malaria cases and around 429000 deaths in 2015 as reported by World Health Organization (WHO).
The increased preventive and awareness measures taken worldwide have led to a decrease in mortality rates by 29 percent. But, still, this problem is persistent in many parts of the world.
Plasmodium falciparum protozoan parasite is the most deadly species of malaria-causing parasites which are transported by small midge kind of flies.
Malaria is the reason for almost 70 percent of deaths in children. This deadly disease was originated from gorillas. Malaria can cause flu-like symptoms like vomiting, fever, etc.
In most of the cases, the time interval in which the person gets infected and when the symptoms start to appear is around 7 to 8 days. It most probably depends on the type of parasite you are infected with.
Initial Symptoms that can be related to flu:
These initial symptoms are very mild and are difficult to identify as malaria.
- The person can be seen suffering from a high temperature or fever.
- A person may have severe or a mild headache in series of intervals of time.
- A person may suffer from regular sweating.
- Chills in rare cases can be seen.
- A person may have frequent vomiting and stomach ache.
If a person is suffering from these initial symptoms, then you must take some further steps to diagnose whether it is malaria or the general flu.
Major Symptoms or Atypical Features:
After the initial stage comes to the major stage of diagnosis in which the flu or malaria can be differentiated.
In most cases the other sort of symptoms that can be included in malaria are:
#1 Enlarged spleen
The spleen organ of our body often becomes enlarged in malaria. The parasitized RBCs are entrapped in the spleen due to which the spleen subsequently becomes very congested, soft and thus starts to increase in size. In worst cases, the rupture of the spleen may also occur. This is basically due to an abnormal immunologic response.
#2 Muscle or back pain or both
The infected areas may happen to take a form of muscle dystrophy which will cause the patient to suffer from frequent episodes of muscle pain.
Malaria is sometimes referred as a ‘cause’ of diarrhea. It is common among children and nonimmune adults with hyperparasitemia. In worst cases, various disorders of the digestive system including diarrhea and intestinal bleeding are observed.
#4 Dry or a nonproductive cough
A cough is a presenting behavior of malaria. It can be referred to as P. falciparum infection. A person may have features of mild bronchitis in some of the cases.
#5 Acute Abdomen
Guarding and rigidity, mimicking bowel perforation, acute cholecystitis, ureteric colic, acute appendicitis, etc. can be observed in the patient due to acute abdomen problem that may arise due to malaria.
Some patients can present the signs of vertigo with or without fever. Some patients do present signs of swaying and other cerebral issues.
#7 Hallucinosis or altered behavior
The patient may present a change in their regular behavior and mood swings.
In rare cases, the patient can present some signs of yellowish color in eyes and urine. In 20-40 percent cases, mild jaundice is observed. Some patients may present the combinations of symptoms as mentioned earlier thus increasing the signs of malaria.
The most life-threatening infection is due to P. falciparum parasite.
Malaria may mimic you with some other infection also. So if you see any of the signs of the symptoms mentioned above you need to see the doctor to find out the actual cause.
What increases your risk of having malaria?
- If you are residing in a region where malaria is present.
- It also depends on your age, history of exposure to malaria.
- Pregnant women are more likely to get severe malaria because the immune system is suppressed during this point of time.