Malaria is a serious infection that is caused by a parasite and can induce fatal complications in humans. Female Anopheles mosquitoes play an important role in the transmission of the malaria parasite known as Plasmodium vivax.
Every year, malaria infects millions of people. Young children are the most vulnerable, particularly in African countries, where more deaths occur than in any other country. Malaria exists in more than 80 countries but is rarely found in the United Nations. But they may get infections while travelling to African countries.
Malaria mostly occurs in Africa, Central America, South and East Asia, some Mediterranean regions, and some European regions. People who travel to malaria-occurring areas may be at high risk of malaria while returning to their country.
Causes of Malaria
Malaria, like dengue fever, can be caused by a malaria-infected mosquito bite, and any mosquito can get the malaria parasite by biting an already infected malaria patient. Such infected mosquitoes carry the parasite and can further bite a normal healthy person, which in this way transfers the parasite to the human.
In addition, there are five types of parasites that can cause malaria in humans. do you know that? Through her mother during pregnancy, malaria can infect a newly born child, and it can also be spread from one person to another through hypodermic needles, blood transfusions, and organ donation.
P. falciparum, P. ovali, P. vivax, P. knowlesi, and P. malariae are the main parasites that are responsible for malaria infection in humans. Whereas P. falciparum is the deadliest, and P. vivax exists worldwide including India.
The malaria parasite is transmitted through the bite of Anopheles mosquitoes, usually in the evening or morning, and injects the parasite into the human blood stream. Here the parasite starts to invade the RBCs, or red blood cells. According to the data now, cases of malaria are declining worldwide.
Prominent symptoms of Malaria
The malaria symptoms can take more than a week to appear after the infection, but sometimes an infected person doesn’t feel any symptoms or sickness during the whole year or they are too mild to be felt. In this way, a malaria parasite can survive inside the human body for many years without causing any signs or symptoms. But some people can feel flu-like symptoms like fatigue, fever, shivering of the whole body with chills, headache, cough, and many more, as described in the next paragraph. Progressing malaria can also lead to jaundice and anemia.
Typically, a parasite-infected person doesn’t show any symptoms at the start of the infection, but symptoms start to appear after 10 days to 4 weeks of infection. The symptoms can be a combination of fever, chills, cold sweats, muscle aches, headaches, diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. When such a condition or symptoms attack in a repetitive cycle in a synchronized way, fever, tremors, and profuse sweating become periodic. At this time, the body’s temperature drops to normal. This pattern of symptoms can change into more frequent attacks in the severe stage of malaria infection, and the parasite also continues to multiply until the patient gets the appropriate treatment.
Relation of Malaria with Anemia
And moreover, a person can also suffer from anemia at the same time, along with an enlarged spleen, debility, and weakness. If the person’s blood test has detected a P. falciparum parasite, then malaria can be a more dangerous type of infection, which can lead to coma and eventually death unless treated soon. This parasite infects a large number of RBCs, or red blood cells, which can lead to serious complications such as coma and convulsions in a malaria patient.
Malaria can also relapse again after a few years since some of the spores may remain inside the cells in a dormant state for months or years even after complete treatment. This is truer for P. ovali and P. vivax parasitic infections.
How to prevent Malaria?
Traveling to malaria-prone areas can cause malaria, so while travelling to those areas, take a doctor’s advice about taking prescription medication before and after travelling or during the trip since there is no vaccine available for malaria. To prevent malaria infection, one should follow the below measures:
- ● Applying mosquito repellent (diethyltoluamide) frequently reduces the chance of getting exposed to mosquito bites.
- Use a mosquito bed net over the bed while sleeping outdoors or if you are not using air-conditioning in the bedroom as well.
- Put screens or nets on doors and windows.
- Wear fully covered clothes during outdoor time to prevent skin exposure.
- Treating mosquito nets with insecticide before use is also helpful.
- Use mosquito coils or spray any insecticide inside the bedroom or tent before going to sleep.
- Sleep in an air-conditioned room if it is affordable.
Uses of Malaria Test
A doctor may order a malaria test if he finds the suspected symptoms of malaria infection in an individual. Malaria can be cured completely if diagnosed and treated well, but complications like internal bleeding and organ failure may arise if left unattended or undiagnosed. Therefore, if a doctor finds the symptoms of malaria, he may also take the person’s travel history to confirm his doubts apart from blood tests. The test doesn’t require overnight fasting or any other such condition, and it is similar to normal blood tests like the CBC test. A CBC test is also required in the diagnosis of malaria; thus, a doctor may request a complete blood count test in addition to specific malaria tests.
The blood sample may be tested for a Blood Smear Test, a Rapid Diagnostic Test, or for both tests of malaria, depending upon the doctor’s recommendation. Here, the former test detects and confirms the type of parasite, while the latter test offers fast results and can detect the current infection as well.
If the blood sample shows negative results, the suspected person may need to get retested for 2 or 3 days to confirm the negative results since the number of parasites may vary from time to time.
Where is the malaria test available?
The test for malaria is available in certain specific pathology labs, including “Redcliffe Labs”, and results can be obtained on the same day of the test. If your doctor has recommended a malaria test because of your suspicion of malaria symptoms, book the test from the well-trusted and certified “Redcliffe Labs” online at www.redcliffelabs.com Here, all the tests are available at an affordable rate and a free sample collection facility is also available.