How to treat Malaria

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which is transmitted via the bites of infected mosquitoes. In the human body, the parasites multiply in the liver, and then infect red blood cells.

Malaria is a main cause of death worldwide. 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. Malaria is a disease which can be transmitted to people of all ages. It is caused by parasites of the species Plasmodium that are spread from person to person through the bites of infected mosquitoes. Malaria is a parasitic disease that involves infection of the red blood cells. Of the four types of malaria, the most serious type is falciparum malaria, which can be life-threatening. The other three types of malaria (vivax, malariae, and ovale) are generally less serious and are not life-threatening. The scientific name of the particular type of mosquito is Anopheles. An infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person and injects the malaria parasites into the blood. The malaria parasites then travel through the bloodstream to the liver and eventually infect the red blood cells.

Medical treatment should be sought immediately. The effectiveness of ant malarial drugs differs with different species of the parasite and with different stages of the parasite’s life cycle. Your physician will determine the treatment planmost appropriate for your individual condition. Drugs includes chloroquine, mefloquine, primaquine, quinine, pyrimethamine-sulfadoxine (Fansidar), and doxycycline. Some plasmodium has developed resistance to certain medications, and therefore, alternative medications will be prescribed for you.

Symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, and vomiting, and usually appear between 10 and 15 days after the mosquito bite. If not treated, malaria can quickly become life-threatening by disrupting the blood supply to vital organs. In many parts of the world, the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines.

Treatment of Malaria:

• If evidence of life-threatening hemolytic anemia is determined, establish large-bore intravenous (IV) lines, initiate fluid resuscitation, and administer transfusion of type-specific packed RBCs.

• P.falciparum based infection can be treated with the drug quinine (orally in mild cases or by intravenous infusion in more severe cases).

• Search for any signs of microvascular malarial complications.

• In cases of marlarial drug resistance, mefloquine, artemisinin derivatives and malarone can be used.

Prevention of malaria what is practiced in epidemic areas is by spraying insecticides like DDT. Many new drugs are available for malaria, however most of the drugs are derived from Quinine derivatives. Malaria often requires treatment with medicine (antimalarial medications). Most of the time antimalarial medications effectively treat the infection; however, some malaria parasites may survive because they are in the liver or are resistant to the medication.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

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