Malaria – Venezuela
An outbreak of malaria has hit the classrooms of Pedernales. Four of eight teachers of a local high school are infected. "All preschool teachers have malaria. In elementary school even the principal is on malaria and in the high school there are four sick people." An actual count of cases has not been reported.
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.
While you are here, help us with
Access to Essential Drugs
One third of children, women and men have no access to essential medicines, putting lives at risk. Hospitals frequently run out of medicines and other essential supplies. Our Med-Aid program connects hospitals with aid and ensures that they receive exactly what they need.
Access to Diagnostics
Much of today’s innovation is either not reaching or not suitable for people in developing countries.
Data to Improve Health
Faster and reactive systems to help provide lifesaving support to vulnerable communities.
Support our work. It only takes a minute but makes a world of difference!
With your help we can bring modern diagnostics and essential medicines to people in need, track disease outbreaks better and help prevent future pandemics.