Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite, then transmitted by the bites of an infected mosquito. However, approximately, 1.5 million confirmed cases are reported annually by the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP), of which 40–50% is due to Plasmodium falciparum.
Though Malaria is one of the curable diseases if one starts effective treatment as early as possible, delaying its treatment may end up to serious consequences,even death.
Types of Malaria Infection and where they can be found
Parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria. Although we have many species of Plasmodium, only five infect humans and cause malaria. They are as follows below:
In tropical and subtropical areas; major contributor to deaths from severe malaria
Likewise in Asia and Latin America; has a dormant stage that can cause relapses
Also in Africa and the Pacific islands
This is worldwide ; and can cause a chronic infection
Throughout Southeast Asia; can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection.
The life cycle of the falciparum malaria parasite is complex. When an infectious mosquito feeds on a human being, it injects parasites (called sporozoites) into the bloodstream, therefore travel directly to the liver where they mature for about 6 days. At this stage, there are no symptoms of disease in the person who has been infected.
Infections begin from the occurrence of the following stages:
- Sporozoites, the infective stages, are injected by a mosquito and are carried around the body until they invade liver hepatocytes.
- Then it undergoes a phase of asexual multiplication (exoerythrocytic schizogony), then resulting in the production of many uninucleate merozoites. These merozoites flood out into the blood and invade red blood cells.
- They initiate the second phase of asexual multiplication (erythrocytic schizogony) resulting in the production of about 8-16 merozoites which invade new red blood cells.
- The infection progresses, then some young merozoites develop into male and female gametocytes that circulate in the peripheral blood until they are taken up by a female anopheline mosquito when it feeds.
- Within the mosquito the gametocytes mature into male and female gametes, fertilization occurs and a motile zygote (ookinete) is formed within the lumen of the mosquito gut, the beginning of a process known as sporogony. The ookinete penetrates the gut wall and becomes conspicuous oocyst within which another phase of multiplication occurs resulting in the formation of sporozoites that migrate to the salivary glands of a mosquito and are injected when the mosquito feeds on a new host.
Malaria may occur from an infected mosquito with the Plasmodium parasite if bites you. However there are four kinds of malaria parasites that can infect humans: Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malariae, and P. falciparum.
P. falciparum causes a more severe form of the disease and those who contract this form of malaria have a higher risk of death. An infected mother may possibly pass the disease to her baby at birth. This system is known as congenital malaria. Malaria is not only transmitted by blood but also can be transmitted through (a) organ transplant (b) transfusion (c) use of shared needles or syringes
Symptoms of Malaria Infection
A malaria infection is generally characterized by recurrent attacks with the following signs and symptoms:
• Joint pain
• Hemolytic anemia
• Hemoglobin in the urine
• Retinal damage
• Bloody stools
• Abdominal pain
• Shaking chills that can range from moderate to severe
• High fever
• Profuse sweating
Alternative Natural Treatments
Grapefruit contains a substance called quinine which can neutralize malaria inducing parasites. It aides in destroying the parasites and strengthens the immune system. A malaria patient should consume grapefruit and grapefruit juice to combat the disease.
Cinnamon has great medicinal values and it contains cinnamaldehyde which provides aid against inflammation. This spice is full of anti-parasitic qualities. Its consumption provides immediate relief to body ache that is usually attached to malaria. It can be boiled with water and the concoction can be taken with honey. It also reverses the loss of appetite, cramps, nausea etc.
- Holy basil
Often the major symptoms of malaria include body and joint pains. Holy basil is a popular herb which eases inflammation and joint pains. It is included in many ayurvedic medicines and can cure many diseases including malaria. Basil can be infused with tea or can be boiled with water and consumed with honey by the person suffering from malaria.
- Fever nuts
These nuts contain seeds with immense medicinal properties. It breaks the malaria fever and boosts the immune system. This herb effectively treats the symptom of malaria and helps in curing the person suffering from malaria fever by reducing the soaring body temperatures.
Qualities of ginger help in relieving nausea, fever, body ache and in improving the appetite. It can be boiled with water and can be consumed to speed up the recovery process. It has natural antibiotic properties which can be enhanced if it is taken with raisins.
How to Prevent Malaria
• Mosquito repellents – apply it to your skin, especially to all exposed areas, and clothing. For your skin, opt for a repellent that contains at least a 10 percent concentration of DEET.
• Use camphor as a repellent- you can light camphor in the room with all the doors and windows closed. Leave it for about 15-20 minutes to keep the mosquitoes away. You can also use the lemon and clove technique- just stick some cloves in a half-sliced lemon and keep it near your bed while you sleep.
• Use a mosquito bed net while sleeping.
• Wear long-sleeved shirts, pants, and socks.
• Avoid exercising outdoors as mosquitoes get attracted to sweat.
• Empty and clean all containers that hold water such as flower pots, flower vases, and animal dishes – at least once a week – to prevent mosquitoes from breeding at your house.
• Keep your surroundings clean, ensuring that there is no stagnant water, which is a breeding ground for the mosquitoes.
Triple T wishes you sound health!