When the infected Anopheles mosquito bites, then single celled parasites called plasmodia enter the blood stream causing an infection called malaria. The plasmodia parasites belong to 5 species. It is Plasmodium Vivax or Plasmodium Falciparum that causes most malarial infections in humans. Plasmodium parasites spend major parts of their life cycle in the human body, multiplying and causing infection in red blood cells and liver cells. These parasites also spent another part of their life cycle inside mosquitoes. Malaria symptoms are caused with release of parasites when the blood cells and liver cells break or burst.
Symptoms of malaria include headache, high fever, fatigue, profuse sweating due to sudden drop in temperature, feeling faint, vomiting, nausea, discomfort in the abdomen and muscular aches.
Treatment must not delay or it can lead to severe complications like convulsions, extreme sleepiness, coma, unconsciousness and delirium. It can also lead to discoloured yellow skin, low blood sugar, severe anaemia, failure of kidneys and pulmonary oedema.
The doctor makes a diagnosis by taking blood samples to examine plasmodium parasites, determine ability of blood clotting, levels of blood platelets and red blood cells, chemistry of blood, functioning of kidneys and liver.
If treatment is administered properly, the symptoms go away fast within 15 days. A vaccine against malaria is expected, say researchers to prevent malarial attacks in future. Mosquito bites can be prevented by using bed nets, covering the body well in mosquito hit areas, staying indoors with mosquito screen on windows, using mosquito repellents or applying permethrin to clothing. If you are travelling to mosquito infected regions then preventive medication against malaria must be taken.
Malaria is a treatable disease, provided right drugs are administered to kill all malarial parasites from the body. It must be noted that certain parasites are non resistant to drugs. If wrong drugs are used for treatment or if the disease isn’t treated properly, malaria can continue.