Malaria – India

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There is a growing number of malaria cases in Kerala, mostly imported from other states by the large number of migrant workers.

Malaria is an acute febrile illness caused by plasmodium parasites, which are spread through bites of infected female anopheles mosquitoes. Symptoms include: Fever, headache, body aches, and chills. Usually, symptoms appear 10 to 15 days after an infective mosquito bite.

Over 300 cases of the disease were reported in the state last year alone. However, this number is relatively lower than the 656 cases in 2020. A majority of the cases reported in the state have been imported from various states, said health officials.

Around 30 malaria cases have already been reported in the state so far this year. District surveillance teams are keeping track of the cases among vulnerable communities. Over the past few years, a majority of the cases were reported among migrant communities, mostly those coming from West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and north-eastern states.

An integrated approach has been launched by the Health Department, by setting up special camps for migrants, to screen and keep track of the disease. Anyone showing symptoms akin to malaria should seek medical help.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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