Key Facts About Malaria.
- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes. It is preventable and curable.
- In 2019, there were an estimated 229 million cases of malaria worldwide.
- The estimated number of malaria deaths stood at 409 000 in 2019.
- The WHO African Region carries a disproportionately high share of the global malaria burden. In 2019, the region was home to 94% of malaria cases and deaths.
- According to the 2019 World Malaria Report, Nigeria had the highest number of global malaria cases (57,250,000 malaria cases) in 2018 and accounted for the highest number of deaths (98,160 malaria deaths).
- Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria; in 2019, they accounted for 67% (274 000) of all malaria deaths worldwide.
- Malaria is caused by Plasmodium The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anophelesmosquitoes, called “malaria vectors.” There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
- In 2018, falciparumaccounted for 99.7% of estimated malaria cases in the WHO African Region, 50% of cases in the WHO South-East Asia Region, 71% of cases in the Eastern Mediterranean and 65% in the Western Pacific.
- vivaxis the predominant parasite in the WHO Region of the Americas, representing 75% of malaria cases.
Symptoms of Malaria.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear 10–15 days after the infective mosquito bite. The first symptoms – fever, headache, and chills – may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms: severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. In malaria endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
Who is at risk?
Some population groups are at considerably higher risk of contracting malaria, and developing severe disease, than others. These include infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS, as well as non-immune migrants, mobile populations and travellers.
Diagnosis and treatment.
Prompt malaria diagnosis either by microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs) is recommended by WHO for all patients with suspected malaria before administering treatment. Early and accurate diagnosis is essential both for effective management of the disease and for strong malaria surveillance. Treatment, solely on the basis of symptoms should only be considered when a parasitological diagnosis is not possible.
Parasite-based diagnostic testing significantly reduces illness and death by enabling health providers to swiftly distinguish between malarial and non-malarial fevers and select the most appropriate treatment. It improves the overall management of patients with febrile illnesses and may also help reduce the emergence and spread of drug resistance.
Where quality-assured diagnosis is readily available, health-care providers should only give antimalarial treatment to patients who test positive, while those who test negative should be assessed for other causes of fever.
Since 2010, when WHO recommended testing of all suspected malaria cases, the proportion of patients receiving a malaria diagnostic test has increased significantly.
The HealthCheck Malaria Parasite Test Cassette is good diagnostic device to test for Malaria.
Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across the community.
WHO recommends protection for all people at risk of malaria with effective malaria vector control. Two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying – are effective in a wide range of circumstances. Sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans by providing both a physical barrier and an insecticidal effect.