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In a recent article by, Medical News Today, the Malaria disease is explained. Malaria is a life threatening blood disease that is caused by a parasite that is transmitted by humans by the Anopheles mosquito. On the other hand, Malaria is a preventable and treatable disease. if Malaria is treated at an early stage within the disease, the duration of the disease can be significantly reduced, which in turn prevents complications and even death in the long run.
The word “Malaria” comes from the 18th century word “mala” which means “bad” and “aria” which means “air.” It wasn’t until 1880 that scientists discovered that Malaria was a disease caused by a parasite which is transmitted by the anopheles mosquito. the mosquito infects the host with a one-cell parasite called plasmodium. By the end of the 18th century, scientists found out that Malaria is transmitted from person-to person through the bite of the female mosquito- which needs blood for her eggs. Approximately 40% of the global population is at risk for the Malaria disease. However, during the 20th century, the disease was effectively eliminated in the majority of non-tropical areas.
In many regions where, Malaria is common such as Africa, local people have some kind of immunity- this means many infected people have no symptoms at all or very few. The severity of the Malaria disease depends on a few factors such as the type of parasite the mosquito has infected the human with, the individual persons level of immunity, and whether or not the person still has their spleen. Some of the early stage symptoms of Malaria are a high body temperature or fever, chills, headache, sweats, tiredness, nausea, and vomiting.
Luckily, there are many treatment options for the Malaria disease. Ideally, the treatment for Malaria should take place as soon as symptoms are detected- within 24 hours. Patients with uncomplicated Malaria can be treated as outpatients while those with a sever case of Malaria need to be hospitalized. In some countries that are not the United States, anti-malaria medications may be presented as suppositories. Hopefully, one day Malaria can be cured in all countries it affects. For now, doctors and scientists and taking the steps they need in order to cure people of this disease.
Malaria, which is caused by a tiny parasite, is a seasonal disease that causes hundreds of thousands of deaths in the spring time. According to a recent article published by the New York Times, the reports of malaria this year were encouraging, meaning that infections caused by Malaria have been reduced and many lives have been saved. There was also good news in May that researchers that a potential malaria vaccine might be on the way. One would think that malaria would be dying down, however researchers in Thailand do not feel this way.
The mosquitos that carry the malaria disease from person to person are adapting and therefore becoming resistant to the chemicals in the drugs used to prevent the disease from spreading. This causes scientists to be constantly formulating new drugs in order to save lives for malaria. The writer of the article, Francois Nosten, who is a professor of tropical medicine at the University of Oxford, writes about his time working at the Thai-Myanmar border for 30 years and remembering a time when him and his team believed that malaria was untreatable.The number of people with a particular parasite was declining but the drug that they were using was becoming less effective and more patients were dying.
However, it wasn’t long until they found an alternate drug, Artemisia from China that was proven to be very safe and was killing the malaria parasite very rapidly. Shortly after, studies confirmed the safety and effectiveness of the artemisia-based combination therapy or ACT for short. The new treatment method was deployed in refugee camps and the number of cases and deaths declined. There was evidence stating that the therapy worked but the World Health Organization was slow to adopt the treatment and suggest it for other countries, like Africa. This was due to the fact that after the 2000-2001 malaria epidemic, many people received ineffective drugs.
Today, the fight to end malaria is still in effect but is difficult due to money and politics. Nosten claims that “we have the science to defeat malaria, we just have to act before it defeats us.”
Senegal, which is situated on the western coast of Africa, has become a place that sets the example for the rest of Africa on how to keep malaria from ravaging a community of people. Malaria will claim over 600,000 victims before the end of 2014 and most of them are young African children. A small town in Senegal, known for its sugar cane fields, is battling the devastating disease because the sugar cane fields are an ideal breeding ground for millions of mosquitos. The Ministry of Health and World Health Organization are doing something about it. Both organizations are making sure that effective treatments are available nearby and health facilities with abilities to run rapid tests have also been made available. With these efforts, malaria has almost been wiped out in the community.
With the successes of this small town those who have seen their world improved with the MOH and the WHO want to see these results around the entire country. The Global Fund article explains that this long-term goal cannot be done overnight and it will require a partnership from various organizations like The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, the Gates Foundation, and the U.S. President’s Malaria Initiative with the Senegalese Government.
And Senegal hopes to avoid what has happened in other countries across Africa. In countries that have decreased their efforts towards combating malaria through reduced transmissions, since 1930, 75 resurgences have taken place. This sparked the Cost of Inaction to produce a report that stated they expect 196,000 more people would die from the disease and over 430 million people would be sickened by malaria each year. The worry is that the rest of the world is not a tiny town in Senegal. It will take immense amount of resources and with no vaccine there is no end in sight.