Malaria – Guyana
November 23, 2021 – An unspecified number of individuals from Venezuela entering Puerto Kaituma, Guyana have reported cases of malaria, which was confirmed on Tuesday, November 23, 2021. Although the number of Venezuelans entering Guyana is 200, it is not known how many of those individuals have been diagnosed with malaria. Most of the individuals have other co-exisiting health concerns. Officials of the source note that the malaria and some of the other poor-health conditions may have been due to limited access to clean water.
Current public health action to alleviate this outbreak is to provide individuals with mosquito nets. Other public health efforts include providing access to medical services for the Venezuelan immigrants. In addition, food and other sources of medical aid will be provided to those who are mostly affected by the outbreak and lack of resources.
Photo: Malaria parasite (blue) attaching to a red blood cell
Malaria is a mosquito-borne disease, caused by a parasite (Plasmodium) that enters the red blood cells. The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce.
The signs and symptoms of malaria typically begin 8 to 25 days following an infected mosquito bite. The disease starts with symptoms that resemble flu with recurring fevers every 36 to 48 hours.
Malaria has several serious complications and seeking medical treatment is important if you suspect having malaria.
The disease is widespread in the tropical and subtropical regions that exist in a broad band around the equator.
The risk of catching the disease can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites through the use of mosquito nets and insect repellents or with mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water.
While malaria can easily be treated, the parasites are increasingly developing drug resistance.
Malaria has been in existence for 50 000 to 100 000 years. In Saqqara Egypt a burial site 2100 BC was found a whole family infected and probably killed by malaria. Malaria was once common in most of Europe and North America. It may have contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire and then known as the Roman Fever and marsh fever. The term malaria originates from Medieval Italian: mala aria, meaning "bad air".
In 1880 the parasite was identified in red blood cells by a French army doctor who worked in Algeria. This was the first time a parasite was identified as causing a disease. The first effective treatment for malaria came from the bark of cinchona tree, which contains quinine. Jesuit monks introduced the treatment to Europe around 1640.
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