This short article is from “THT” in honor of World Malaria Day
WHAT IS MALARIA?
It is a febrile illness caused by the parasite called Plasmodium present in the saliva of an infected female anopheles mosquito.
- There are 5 identified species, namely, Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale, P.knowlesi and P. malariae.
- In Nigeria, 98% of all cases is due to P. falciparum.
- This is responsible for the severe form of malaria that leads to death.
WHO CAN GET MALARIA?
Everybody and Anybody!!!
But more serious in
- pregnant women and
- visitors who do not live in endemic areas.
HOW IS MALARIA TRANSMITTED?
Malaria can be transmitted through various means like:
- the bites of infected female anopheles mosquito;
- blood transfusion and organ transplantation;
- mother to child transmission, etc
DO YOU HAVE MALARIA?
If you have
- fever (hotness of the body), chills (feeling cold) and rigors (shaking of the body)
- nausea and vomiting and diarrhoea
- joint weakness or tiredness
HOW DO YOU TREAT MALARIA?
Simple, uncomplicated malaria can be treated at home
This would involve
- Control of fever with antipyretics like Paracetamol, tepid bath and
- Use of drugs called antimalarials.
The age specific pre-packed Artemisinin-based Combination Therapy (ACT) which consists of an Artemisinin derivative, like Artesunate, and another effective antimalarial drug like Sulphadoxine-Pyrimethamine, Lumefantrine, Amodiaquine Chloroquine and Mefloquine may be used.
1st dose —— 0 hour
2nd dose ——- 8 hours after
3rd – 6thdoses —— at 12 hours interval.
NOTE: MULTIVITAMINS AFFECT THE EFFICACY OF ACTs.
When a patient has, in addition to the symptoms of malaria,
- generalized weakness or inability to sit, stand or walk without support
- impaired consciousness (confusion, drowsiness or coma);
- difficulty in breathing or fast deep breaths;
- multiple convulsions (>2 in 24hrs);
- jaundice (yellow discoloration of the eyes);
- haemoglobinuria (coca-cola colored urine) and reduced urinary output
Then this is a medical emergency requiring in-patient care and should be treated as such!!!
Take patient to the nearest health facility!!!
The use of drugs to prevent malaria is advised in people with
- Sickle cell anemia,
- non-immune visitors and
- Pregnant women.
HIV and malaria
HIV does not increase the likelihood or severity of malaria except in pregnancy.
CONTROL OF MALARIA
- Use Insecticide Treated Nets (ITN) and clothing as these repel mosquitoes, kill those which alight on them, protect those sleeping under them and nearby in the same room, reduce vector infectivity and reduce death by up to 20%.
- Spraying insecticides in the home
- Covering potholes and depressions around the house.
- Draining all stagnant water.
- Covering all water containers around the house
- Cutting all water-holding plants
- Screening windows and doors with nets
- Using coils and sprays.
- Using insect repellents