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The Causes, Treatment and Prevention of Malaria

I. Etiology

Malaria is a name given to an infectious disease caused by a parasite; the parasite is commonly referred as Plasmodium falciparum a protozoa that is usually transmitted by female anopheles mosquitoes. Upon transmission the parasite goes ahead to infect red blood cells (Bismuth, Shellock 1992).

Currently, it’s reported that about 2 million deaths occur in the world yearly due to Plasmodium infections. Children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan African countries form part of the majority deaths. Report shows that there are about 400 million new cases of Malaria infection yearly. Malaria is common in Asia, Africa, central and south America.

II. Diagnostic Testing

The general symptoms for malaria include: headache, nausea, fever, vomiting and flu-like symptoms. The most common symptom is repeated cycle of chills, fever and sweating that may occur every two to three days upon infection (Bismuth, Shellock 1992).

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Testing for Malaria involves lab tests that are either microscopic or non-microscopic.  Microscopic testing involves staining available samples and then performing visual confirmation with the aid of a microscope to determine the presence of the parasite. Procedures involved are Peripheral smear study and Quantitative Buffy Coat (QBC). Non-microscopic test involves using a parasitic antigen to identify the reported infection. The processes include: Para Sight F test, Optimal Assay and Polymerase chain reaction.

III. Progression

The outcome (prognosis) of people infected with the parasite indicates that majority of them end up being well and the fevers disappear after about 96 hours. However,  reinfection is evidently common in endemic areas. Untreated patients are exposed to infection of the brain with seizures and confusion. Sometimes untreated patient develop kidney failures and may end in a coma which results in death (Kattenberg, Ochodo, Schallig, Mens and Leeflang, 2011).  

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IV.Medical and Surgical Management

Emergency physicians are expected to have suspicion index if patients from endemic regions develop high fever. Incase of mixed infections clinical differentiation and decision making will be of importance, however the clinician should possess a low threshold for including treatment (Smith, 2009).

V.Therapeutic Management

Charity organizations have been established to aid in research as well as provide the infected regions with treated mosquito nets; this has facilitated minimization of the number of deaths. Sensitization of the public has always been considered helpful. It involves: educating the public about the disease and its consequences, organizing campaigns against the spread of malaria and informing people of the importance of sleeping under a net especially pregnant mothers and infants. Clearing of bushes and thickets around homestead and maintaining personal hygiene would be of importance in eradicating Malaria. Incase there is prove of infection it should be everybody’s responsibility to advise the infected person to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. The new trends of rehabilitation of malaria have been focused mainly on organization of campaigns to counter Malaria infections.

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