Malaria - The Plasmodium Parasite Disease

Malaria is an infectious disease that is caused by the parasite known as Plasmodium. This disease generally affects a person from the bite of a female mosquito that carries the plasmodium parasite. Even though, many people consider it to be just a fever, it is an infection that can cause serious illness and even lead to death as well. The female mosquito called as anopheles causes this infection by biting people. The parasite can travel to the liver and can cause infection to the red blood cells.

Symptoms of Malaria:

Generally, it will take around 7-30 days for the symptoms to develop after an individual is bitten by the said mosquito. Even longer than 30 days can be taken to show the symptoms and this period is known as incubation period. The symptoms will take longer to show up if an individual is infected with a less severe type of malaria. Even if an individual has taken anti-malarial medicines, there are chances of getting affected with this parasite. Here are the first symptoms that show up after the incubation period:

• Headache

• Pain in muscles

• Fever

• Stomach ache with diarrhea and vomiting in the case of children

• Fatigue

• Cough and

• Loss of appetite

Even though, it is rare, there are chances that some people may experience malaria attacks once in every 2 or 3 days and this type of attack can last between 6-10 hours. This attack generally will be in three stages and the first stage is feeling cold and shivering, fever and headaches and the third stage is sweating and tiredness. When you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms, it is better to seek immediate medical help and do not forget to inform your doctor whether you have travelled recently.

Diagnosis:

A physical examination will be conducted and your doctor will ask you about any countries that you have visited recently. If the doctor doubts that you might have malaria, a blood test will be suggested to find the type of parasite with which you are affected. If the blood test shows negative, you will still be recommended to take two further blood tests within one to three days. This is because the level of parasite in your blood may vary. For instance, if you have recently taken anti-malarial medicines, there are chances that the parasite levels may be too low to detect.

Treatment for malaria:

There are medicines to treat malaria, but it is important that you will have to begin the treatment as soon as possible. The treatment will be decided on the basis of type of parasite that has affected you and here your doctor will collect details about the nations you travelled recently to identify the right medicine as some medicines do not work for some parasites. The length of treatment will vary according to the severity of the infection.

When it comes to treating mild P. Falciparum malaria, you will be recommended medications like quinine followed by doxycycline and quinine is generally prescribed for another type of malaria called as severe P. Falciparum.

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