5 most important things to know about Malaria
Updated: Dec 8, 2022
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal disease caused by a parasite that commonly infects a certain type of mosquito which feeds on humans.
The bite of infected mosquitoes transmits the plasmodium parasite. The severity of malaria varies based on the species of plasmodium.
People who get malaria are typically very sick with high fevers, shaking chills, and flu-like illnesses. Although malaria can be a deadly disease, illness and death from malaria can usually be prevented. Below are the five most important things to note about Malaria.
Ongoing transmission: Malaria still occurs in 85 countries
In 2020, 241 million cases of Malaria were reported from 85 countries, among which over 95 percent occurred in the African region. The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Uganda are the most affected countries in the eastern Africa region, accounting for 12 and 5 percent of all global cases, respectively. Besides, the Covid-19 pandemic has disrupted efforts to control and eliminate Malaria, leading to an increase from 56 cases out of 1000 people at risk in 2019 to 59 in 2020. As the World Health Organization (WHO) summarizes, Malaria alone is responsible for 7.8 percent of the global disease burden.
Child mortality; About half a million children die from malaria every year
Only a small fraction of malaria victims die from it, but those who die are the very weakest – about three out of four malaria victims are children. Malaria is one of the leading causes of child mortality; it kills about half a million children yearly, equivalent to 1320 children on an average day.
Resistance; There is an emergence and spread of artemisinin resistance
Malaria trends change. Artemisinin-based drugs, such as Coartem, are the most novel, effective, and affordable antimalarial drugs available on the market with fewer side effects. They are generally suitable for outpatient treatment of uncomplicated cases of Malaria. Due to ongoing misuse of these drugs, some human malaria parasite species have developed resistance, threatening to set back achievements in the control and elimination of Malaria. It is very important to take anti-malaria drugs when prescribed and as prescribed to limit resistance.
Protection; Tools for human protection from Malaria infection
Tools for human protection from malaria infection include protection from mosquito bites, chemoprevention, and vaccination. Repellents are applied to exposed skin to protect against mosquito bites. Sleeping in Long-lasting insecticide-treated nets (LLINs) is important for malaria control as it prevents mosquitoes bite during the night. Medications such as sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) have effectively reduced malaria episodes in infants and pregnant women. Residential interventions include house screening, indoor residual spraying, and lethal house lures.
Malaria vaccine; There is an effective vaccine against malaria
A successful malaria vaccine can potentially reduce the global disease burden due to malaria. The WHO approved the RTSS vaccine in October 2021 for children in Sub-Sahara Africa and other regions with high transmission, based on studies of 830,000 children in Ghana, Kenya, and Malawi. However, mass vaccination campaigns are yet to start.
Do you have symptoms? a recurrent Malaria despite treatment? or would like to know more about Malaria? reach out to us at the BYON8. Our expert medical doctors will be more than happy to help.