Malaria: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Is it important to recognize malaria symptoms? Yes, it is very necessary! Because based on the data in the world, malaria kills one child every 30 seconds. Approximately 300-500 million people are infected and about 1 million people die from the disease each year. In fact, according to wikipedia, WHO estimates that in 2010 there were 219 million cases of malaria resulting in 660,000 deaths. Others have estimated the number of cases at between 350 and 550 million for falciparum malaria and deaths in 2010 at 1.24 million up from 1.0 million deaths in 1990. The majority of cases (65%) occur in children under 15 years old.

What is malaria and causes?
Malaria is a disease caused by a parasite called Plasmodium. The disease is transmitted through the bite of mosquito an infected these parasites. In the human body, the parasite Plasmodium will proliferate in the liver and then infect red blood cells. Patients infected by malaria will show early symptoms resemble influenza disease, but if left untreated they can lead to complications that lead to death.

Patients who have been infected by malaria, will show the early symptoms are similar to influenza illness, but if left untreated they can lead to complications that lead to death. The disease is most common in tropical and subtropical areas where Plasmodium parasites can thrive as well as vector Anopheles mosquitoes. The area south of the Sahara in Africa and Papua New Guinea in Oceania are the places with the highest incidence of malaria.

Parasites as a cause of malaria, multiply in red blood cells, which then rupture within 48 to 72 hours, infecting red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year later. Then the symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours.

The majority of the symptoms caused by a large release of merozoites into the bloodstream, anemia due to destruction of red blood cells, and the problems caused by the large number of free hemoglobin released into circulation after red blood cells rupture. Malaria can also be transmitted from birth (from mother to baby at birth) and blood transfusion. Malaria mosquitoes which cause malaria vectors can be taken to temperate climates, but the parasite is lost during winter.

Malaria symptoms

a. Symptoms of mild malaria (Malaria Without Complications)
Although the symptoms of mild malaria is said to be mild, but the patient felt quite an ordeal. Symptoms, fever and chills, accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, muscle pain or stiffness. The symptoms that arise varies, depending on the patient endurance. 
There are three stages to this Malaria's symptoms:
  1. Cold stage: Chills felt about 15 minutes up to 1 hour. Begins with chills and feeling very cold, teeth chattering, a rapid pulse but weak, lips and fingers pale bluish (cyanotic), dry skin and sometimes accompanied by vomiting.
  2. Fever stage (hot stage): Lasts more than 2 to 4 hours. patients feel the heat (fever). flushing, dry skin, headaches and vomiting often. Pulse becomes strong again, feeling very thirsty and the body temperature can rise up to 410 C or more. in children, which is a very high body temperature can cause seizures.
  3. Sweating stage: Lasts more than 2 to 4 hours. people sweat very much. Body temperature back down, sometimes to below normal. after the patient is usually asleep resting up. Upon waking, the patient feels weak but no other symptoms, so it can return to daily activities.
b. Symptoms of severe malaria (malaria with complications)
Patients said to suffer from severe malaria in the blood when the malaria parasite is found through laboratory tests, or rapid diagnostic test (RDT) and with having one or more following symptoms / complications:
  1. Disorders of consciousness in varying degrees (ranging from coma to decrease awareness lighter, with manifestations such as delirious, talking wrong, continued sleeping, silent, behavioral changes)
  2. General condition is very weak (not able to sit / stand)
  3. Convulsions
  4. Body temperature becomes very hot
  5. Yellowing eyes or body
  6. Signs of dehydration (sunken eyes, decreased skin turgor and elasticity, dry mouth, decreased urine production) bleeding nose, gums or intestinal tract
  7. Rapid breathing or shortness of breath

Malaria treatment

Researchers from the Australian National University found that the parasite that causes malaria using a pump system to remove excess salt in the body and find a way to block the pump. The pump then causes the parasite to die because of excess salt levels in the body. One member of the research team, Professor Kiaran Kirk, said the parasites excrete salt from his body "like a leaky boat."

Professor Kiaran say, if you have a leaky boat and a lot of water entry, such as the parasite that gets a lot of salt in, you have to use a pump to push the water out of the boat. If your boat water pump is damaged, your boat will sink. And if the salt pump system was damaged in the parasite, the parasite will sink.

Professor Kirk said the researchers now have to hope that the parasite does not find new ways to beat this drug. "This is a race. We find drug, the parasite then find a way to handle the drug ... and then we need new drugs. Hopefully this new drug will work for a long time ... but if someone says 'successfully cure malaria', yes, that means we can cure malaria for several years, but then we must continue to work to make new medicines. "
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Writen by: Mr Soed - Wednesday, March 26, 2014