World Malaria Day 2018: Ready to beat Malaria
Today, April 25th marks another day to mark World Malaria Day with a theme called Ready to beat Malaria
Malaria is yet one of the oldest diseases across the world; with the World Health Organization (WHO) giving an estimate in 2016 that there were 216 million cases of malaria in 91 countries, 5 million more than the 211 million cases reported in 2015. They also verified that in 2016, 445 000 people died from malaria globally, compared to 446 000 estimated deaths in 2015.
Nigeria, the continent’s most populous country, accounted for 27% of malaria cases and 24% of malaria deaths globally in 2016. Also, Children under 5 are particularly susceptible to malaria with a life claim of a child every 2 minutes.
Scientists have discovered that the disease is being transmitted through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes through the Plasmodium parasites which include Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax
Plasmodium falciparum is the most prevalent malaria parasite on the African continent and is responsible for most malaria-related deaths globally; while Plasmodium vivax is the dominant malaria parasite in most countries outside of sub-Saharan Africa.
Symptoms may vary due to age, severity and the level of immunity in the individual.
In a non-immune individual, the symptoms including fever, headache, and chills may be mild making it difficult to recognize malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can become more severe and lead to death.
In Children with severe malaria, symptoms as severe anemia, and respiratory distress are seen
Malaria is best treated with artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). The parasite P.falciparum has shown resistance to medicines such as chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP).
Malaria can be prevented with the use of treated mosquito nets and indoor spraying with insecticides. Antimalarial medicines can also be used to prevent malaria. For travelers, malaria can be prevented through chemoprophylaxis, which suppresses the blood stage of malaria infections. Keeping a clean surrounding without stagnant water also helps in preventing the breeding of the mosquitoes