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Malaria: A Major Global Health Problem.

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Introduction

Malaria: A Major Global Health Problem Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodia which is a very small, single-cell blood organism, or 'protozoan'. Four different species of this genus are causing Malaria in humans, namely Plasmodium vivax, P. falciparum, P.ovale and P. malariae. These parasites are transmitted into human bloodstream by the female Anopheles mosquito which acts as a vector. The incubation period (time from infection to development of the disease) is usually about 10 to 15 days. Malaria has emerged as an Infectious Killer and W.H.O forecasts 16% growth in malaria cases annually. Malarial Parasite and its Life Cycle: The Parasite has two phases in its life cycle; the sexual (within the gut of mosquito) and the asexual (within the human body) phase.The gametocyte stage of the parasite is the form that infects the mosquito and reproduces itself sexually. ...read more.

Middle

This also alters the transport properties of the red cell membrane, and the red cell becomes more spherical and less deformable. The rupture of red blood cells by merozoites releases certain factors and toxins (such as red cell membrane lipid, glycosyl phosphatidyl inositol anchor of a parasite membrane protein), which could directly induce the release of cytokines such as TNF and interleukin-1 from macrophages, resulting in chills and high grade fever. This occurs once in 48 hours, corresponding to the erythrocytic cycle. Analysis of the scale and spread of the disease: Malaria affects more than 40% of the World's populations in more than 100 countries; especially in the tropics which provides an ideal breeding ground for the anopheles mosquito. According to statistical data published by W.H.O in Africa a child dies of malaria every 20 sec; and there is one death each 12 sec. ...read more.

Conclusion

By far the best development in this field came with the Genetically Modified Mosquitoes which contains the gene to combat the growth of malarial parasite in it. The parasites cannot finish their Life Cycle within these mosquitoes and hence the transmission to humans is restricted. However protection against mosquito's bites, use of proper drugs amongst the infected patients still remains the major way to stop outbreak. Oral treatment is used for uncomplicated malaria, intravenous or intramuscular treatment for severe cases. Chloroquines, Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine, Quinine are amongst the commonest drugs used against malaria. Causing mass alertness against the disease in 3rd World Countries is a major advantage to stop its spread. Diagram depicting the life cycle of malarial parasite (Asexual phase in human body and sexual phase in the mosquito) (Ref: www.malariasite.com/lifecycle.htm) Incidence of Malaria in India over past few years. (Data from www.malariasite.com Link: Malaria in India) Abbreviations: W.H.O - World Health Organisation; R.B.C - Red Blood Corpuscles/Erythrocytes. ...read more.

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