The theme for World Malaria Day this year is ‘End Malaria for Good’. Malaria is caused due to the Plasmodium parasites which are 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.
According to World Health Organization in 2015, malaria prevailed in 91 countries. There were 212 million cases recorded and 429,000 deaths. The statistics show that one child dies of malaria every 2 minutes.
Dr RVS Bhalla, director, internal medicine, Fortis Escorts Hospital Faridabad, and Dr Ajay Aggarwal, director, internal medicine, Fortis Noida, share some essential steps to recognise 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, fatigue, headache , muscle aches, abdominal discomfort, nausea, vomiting ,feeling faint while standing or sitting up, drowsiness, seizure, low blood sugar, jaundice and decreased urine.
Blood tests can be conducted to affirm levels of red blood cells, platelets, blood clotting ability, blood chemistry, liver function, kidney function.
People at a higher risk of contracting Malaria:
Infants (children under five years of age), pregnant women, HIV/AIDS Patient, populations who reside in tropical humid environments, people who reside in unhygienic conditions, that is, near stale dirty water bodies,non-immune migrants.
- 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 per cent population in the country resides in malaria endemic areas and 80 per cent 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 Union 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.