FAQs about Malaria
Malaria is a life threatening disease caused by parasites. The two most common that cause the disease in people are plasmodium falciparum and plasmodium vivax. Here are some frequently asked questions about malaria.
01. How is Malaria Transmitted?
Answer: Malaria is transmitted by infected mosquitoes that bite animals and humans and transfer the parasite. Bites occur typically between sunset and sunrise. Transmission can also occur through blood transfusions, sharing needles and from mother to fetus.
02. What are the Symptoms of Malaria?
Answer: Symptoms can present within seven to fifteen days of being bitten but some parasites may lie dormant in the body for months. Symptoms include high fever, chills, profuse sweating, headache and vomiting.
03. How Widespread is Malaria?
Answer: The number of cases of malaria worldwide in 2013 was 198 million. There were approximately 584,000 deaths with most occurring in children under five years of age who live in Africa. Death rates in Africa have decreased 58 percent since 2000.
04. Who is Most at Risk for Getting Malaria?
Answer: Anyone who is bitten may contract malaria so the risk comes from visiting or living in tropical areas where the disease is common. These areas include countries in Africa located south of the Sahara, India, Haiti, Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands.
Those highest at risk include travelers from regions without malaria, young children and pregnant women. People who have limited access to healthcare are also at high risk, like people who are poor and live in a rural area.
05. How can Malaria be Prevented?
Answer: One cost effective way to prevent malaria is to use a mosquito net that has been treated with insecticide. The inside of the home can also be sprayed with insecticides to kill mosquitoes.
Anti-malarial medicine can be used for prevention. For travelers to regions with a high risk for malaria, chemoprophylaxis will prevent the disease. Pregnant women and infants can be treated with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine.
06. Is There a Vaccine for Malaria?
Answer: Currently there is no vaccine for malaria. However, there is one in clinical trials that has gotten good reviews and it may be approved as soon as late 2015.
07. Is There a Cure for Malaria?
Answer: Malaria can be cured with prescription medications. Treatment will be determined by the type of parasite, symptoms, age and whether the patient is pregnant or not. Medications prescribed include chloroquine, hydroxychloroquine, quinine sulfate, mefloquine and Malarone, which is a combination of atovaquone and proguanil.