Malaria is a disease caused by the parasite Plasmodium, which is transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. Only the Anopheles genus of the mosquito can transmit Malaria. The symptoms of the disease include fever, vomiting and/or headache. A characteristic malarial fever has ‘hot’, ‘wet’ and ‘cold’ phases and appears 10 to 15 days after the mosquito bite.
Blood slides are examined under a microscope to diagnose malaria, where the parasite is seen inside red blood cells. Rapid diagnostic test kits (RDTs) are used for diagnosing malaria in remote areas where microscopes cannot be used. Plasmodium vivax or P. falciparum are the most common malarial parasites, while P. malariae and P. ovale are other rarer forms. Of these, infection with P. falciparum is the most fatal if left untreated and may lead to kidney and brain complications, and even death.
Chloroquine was the treatment of choice for malaria and is still followed in most countries for treatment of P. vivax, but P. falciparum has developed resistance to it and presently Artemisinin-based combination therapy is advised as the primary treatment for malaria. Among preventive measures, use of insecticide treated nets at home and indoor residual spraying of insecticides are those recommended for malaria; they act by decreasing exposure to bites of infected mosquitoes. General information about this disease.