World Malaria Day is observed every year and the theme for this year is "End Malaria for Good". Malaria, caused by Plasmodium parasite is carried by the Female Anopheles mosquito.
Out of five, two species of the parasite, P. falciparum and P. vivax, pose the greatest threat to human beings.
Once the mosquito bites the person, the parasite enters the liver infecting the red blood cells. These begin to grow and reproduce in red blood cells until they swell and burst, releasing new parasites that infect more red blood cells. Once the parasites have infected the blood, the symptoms of malaria begin to appear.
Between 2010 and 2015, the incidence of malaria fell by 21 percent globally; malaria mortality rates fell by 29% and by 35% among children under the age of 5. In 2015, there were 212 million new cases of malaria and 429,000 deaths.
Dr RVS Bhalla, Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad and Dr Ajay Aggarwal, Director, Internal Medicine, Fortis Noida share some essential steps to recognize the early symptoms and ways to tackle malaria:
- High fever (up to 105 degrees Fahrenheit) with shaking chills
- Profuse sweating when the fever suddenly drops
- Muscle aches
- Abdominal discomfort
- Nausea, vomiting
- Feeling faint while standing or sitting up quickly
- Confusion, drowsiness, seizure, coma
- Low blood sugar
Decreased urine or Coca Cola colored urine Diagnosis:
Blood tests can be conducted to affirm:
- Levels of red blood cells
- Ability of your blood to clot
- Blood chemistry
- Liver function
Kidney function People at a higher risk of contracting Malaria:
- Infants (children under 5 years of age)
- Pregnant women
- Patients with HIV/AIDS
- Non-immune migrants
- Mobile populations
- Populations who reside in tropical humid environments
People who reside in unhygienic conditions i.e. near stale dirty water bodies Prevention:
- Use of mosquito coils
- Mosquito repellents sprayed on skin
- Screening windows and doors
- Mosquito proof bed nets
- Closed windows during late evenings and early mornings
- Wearing protective clothing, such as long sleeve shirts
- Avoiding dark coloured clothes
- Using Insecticide-treated mosquito nets
- Indoor residual spraying
Removal of all sources of stagnant water Malaria is a public health problem in several parts of the country. About 95% population in the country resides in malaria endemic areas and 80% of malaria reported in the country is confined to tribal, hilly, difficult and inaccessible areas.
Directorate of National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) under the Ministry of Health has framed technical guidelines/ policies and provides most of the resources for the programme.
Indicators have been developed at national level for monitoring of the programme so that there is uniformity in collection, compilation and onward submissions of data which would be helpful in combating malaria at a larger level.