Malaria


Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type.


Malaria parasites belong to the genus Plasmodium (phylum Apicomplexa). In humans, malaria is caused by P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, P. vivax and P. knowlesi. Among those infected, P. falciparum is the most common species identified (~75%) followed by P. vivax (~20%). Although P. falciparum traditionally accounts for the majority of deaths, recent evidence suggests that P. vivax malaria is associated with potentially life-threatening conditions about as often as with a diagnosis of P. falciparum infection. P. vivax proportionally is more common outside Africa. There have been documented human infections with several species of Plasmodium from higher apes; however, except for P. knowlesi—a zoonotic species that causes malaria in macaques—these are mostly of limited public health importance.

Global warming is likely to affect malaria transmission, but the severity and geographic distribution of such effects is uncertain.

The signs and symptoms of malaria typically begin 8–25 days following infection. Initial manifestations of the disease—common to all malaria species—are similar to flu-like symptoms, and can resemble other conditions such as sepsis, gastroenteritis, and viral diseases. The presentation may include headache, fever, shivering, joint pain, vomiting, hemolytic anemia, jaundice, hemoglobin in the urine, retinal damage, and convulsions.
The classic symptom of malaria is paroxysm—a cyclical occurrence of sudden coldness followed by shivering and then fever and sweating, occurring every two days (tertian fever) in P. vivax and P. ovale infections, and every three days (quartan fever) for P. malariae. P. falciparum infection can cause recurrent fever every 36–48 hours, or a less pronounced and almost continuous fever.

Severe malaria is usually caused by P. falciparum (often referred to as falciparum malaria). Symptoms of falciparum malaria arise 9–30 days after infection. Individuals with cerebral malaria frequently exhibit neurological symptoms, including abnormal posturing, nystagmus, conjugate gaze palsy (failure of the eyes to turn together in the same direction), opisthotonus, seizures, or coma.

Complications

Malaria has several serious complications. Among these is the development of respiratory distress, which occurs in up to 25% of adults and 40% of children with severe P. falciparum malaria. Possible causes include respiratory compensation of metabolic acidosis, noncardiogenic pulmonary oedema, concomitant pneumonia, and severe anaemia. Although rare in young children with severe malaria, acute respiratory distress syndrome occurs in 5–25% of adults and up to 29% of pregnant women. Coinfection of HIV with malaria increases mortality. Renal failure is a feature of blackwater fever, where hemoglobin from lysed red blood cells leaks into the urine.

Infection with P. falciparum may result in cerebral malaria, a form of severe malaria that involves encephalopathy. It is associated with retinal whitening, which may be a useful clinical sign in distinguishing malaria from other causes of fever. Enlarged spleen, enlarged liver or both of these, severe headache, low blood sugar, and hemoglobin in the urine with renal failure may occur. Complications may include spontaneous bleeding, coagulopathy, and shock.

Malaria in pregnant women is an important cause of stillbirths, infant mortality, abortion and low birth weight, particularly in P. falciparum infection, but also with P. vivax.

  • Prevent mosquito breeding
  • Use mosquito nets and repellants
  • Prevent collection and standing of water as it breeds the mosquito larvae
  • Wear full sleeve clothes 

Homoeopathy has a wonderful treatment for Malarial fevers and even prevents the dangerous malaria complications. In fact, the discovery of Hooeopathy was made by Dr. Hahnemann the very first time in treating the Malarial fevers. Medicines like China, China Ars, Natrum Mur, Gelsemium etc. are extremely effective in treating the disease successfully.

  • Peripheral smear for Malarial Parsite
  • Complete Blood Count
  • Ultrasound of the whole abdomen
  • Liver Function Test
  • Antigen-based Rapid Diagnostic Test
Not Available


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