The disperse of malady in Monsoon: Malaria
The ongoing season of monsoon not only brings down heavy rainfall to the surface but also carries an array of dreadful diseases which attacks our immune system. One of the major outbreaks in Assam during this season is Malaria. Due to the state's topography being damp and marshy at this time,it provides a suitable condition for the disease to spread. Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites. The parasites spread among people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, called "malaria vectors." There are five parasite species that causes malaria in humans, and two of these species - P. falciparum and P. vivax, pose the greatest threat.
Symptoms of the disease
It is important to takepreventive measures against Malaria. The first step is toget acquainted with the symptoms of this deadly virus.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness which accounts for the cause of sudden feveror elevation in body temperature. This happens when the body is invaded by a pathogen and the immune system is activated to fight it off.
Usually it takes about 10-15 days for a non-immune individual to start showing symptomsafter the infected mosquito has bitten.Initial symptoms may include-
- Sudden chills
These symptoms are generally difficult to recognize. But without proper diagnosis and check-up,if an infected person overlooks these symptoms, it might lead to severe illness and further health complications, which in some cases may also lead to death.
Children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms:
- Severe anemia
- Respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis
- Cerebral malaria
In adults, multi-organ failureis also common. However, in malaria-endemic areas, people may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infectionsto occur.
Who are at risk?
Generally, the virus is seen to affect the following groups -
- Children under 5 years of age
- Pregnant women
- Patients with HIV/AIDS,
- Non-immune migrants,
- Mobile population& travelers.
National malaria control programmers need to take special measures to protect these population groups from malaria infection, taking into consideration their specific circumstances.
How the disease transmits?
Usually, the virus gets transmitted throughbites of female Anopheles mosquitoes. There are more than 400 different species of Anopheles mosquito; around 30 are malaria vectors of major importance.In most cases it has been observed that the mosquito bites usually during the hours ranging from duskto dawn. The intensity of transmission depends on factors related to the parasite, the vector, the human host, and the environment.
How to stop the spread of this Virus
As it has always been said, "Prevention is better than cure", let us shed some light on the various preventive measures of malaria.
Vector control is one of the primary ways to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. If coverage of vector control interventions within a specific area is high enough, then a measure of protection will be conferred across the community.
Some other preventive measures are mentioned below:
- Sleeping under an insecticide-treated net (ITN) can reduce contact between mosquitoes and humans by providing both a physical barrier and an insecticidal effect.
- Indoor residual spraying (IRS) with insecticides is another powerful way to rapidly reduce malaria transmission. It involves spraying the insecticide inside houses, typically once or twice per year.
- Antimalarial medicines can also be used to prevent malaria. For travelers, malaria can be prevented through chemoprophylaxis, which suppresses the blood stage of malaria infections, thereby preventing malaria disease. For pregnant women living in moderate-to-high transmission areas, WHO recommends intermittent preventive treatment with sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine, at each scheduled antenatal visit after the first trimester.
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces the risk of the disease and prevents death. It also contributes towards reducing malaria transmission. The best available treatment, particularly for P. falciparum malaria, is artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT).
Effective surveillance is required at all points on the path to malaria elimination. Stronger malaria surveillance systems are urgently needed to enable a timely and effective malaria response in endemic regions, to prevent outbreaks and resurgences, to track progress, and to hold governments and the global malaria community accountable.
Last but not the least, as many experts and many specialistsrecommend, vaccination to prevent getting infected and thereby promote overall elimination of malaria. Timely check-up and proper hygiene along with vaccination to the infants at their early stage is highly recommended.