Malaria is a potentially fatal tropical disease that is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium. It is spread through the bite of an infected female mosquito.
The infected person may have feverish attacks, influenza-like symptoms, tiredness, diarrhoea or a whole range of other symptoms. Malaria should always be suspected if these symptoms occur within the first year of return from an infected area; a test should be carried out to exclude the possibility of malaria as soon as possible.
Malaria is one of the leading causes of disease and death in the world. It is estimated that there are 300-500 million new cases every year, with 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths worldwide. Malaria occurs extensively in tropical and subtropical regions.
Frequently asked questions about malaria. ( please click here )
Control of malaria is a complex chain of measures that often complement one another.
Such measures include implementing effective preventative interventions such as prophylaxis and insecticide-treated bed nets. Non-immune adults entering malarious regions are advised to take antimalarials prophylactically to avoid infection. However, when large numbers of people move because of civil unrest, this is not practical. An alternative is to provide a physical barrier, such as an insecticide-treated bednet. This can reduce the number of infective bites a person receives and, because of the insecticide in the net, reduce the adult mosquito population.
Measures to control the insect vector, reducing the numbers of mosquitoes and hence reducing transmission of the malaria parasite, include insecticide spraying, environmental management and biological control. Environmental management measures, such as covering wells and filling in ditches, and keeping irrigation channels fast flowing, help reduce the number of mosquito breeding sites.
Making early diagnoses and giving prompt treatment can cure the disease and reduce the spread of drug resistance. In low transmission areas, prompt treatment can also interrupt malaria transmission. Using a combination of drugs to treat malaria reduces the likelihood of resistance.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is the virus that can cause AIDS. This virus is passed from one person to another through blood-to-blood and sexual contact. In addition, an infected pregnant woman can pass HIV to her baby during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breast-feeding. People with HIV have what is called HIV infection. Most of these people will develop AIDS as a result of their HIV infection.
Frequently asked questions about HIV / AIDS. ( please click here )
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