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Understanding Malaria

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Understanding Malaria

For several years, I have had an interest in virology and the spread and characteristics of various infectious diseases. Though it makes sense not to possibly induce a state of panic by informing individuals of illnesses that are not native to the area they live in and that they are not likely to contract, I have always liked to remain informed out of my own curiosity and interest. Thus, I have decided to write about malaria.

Malaria kills more people than any communicable disease except for tuberculosis. It is caused by four species of parasitic protozoa that infect human red blood cells. Four different types of these protozoa are known: protozoa falciparum, protozoa vivax, protozoa ovale, and protozoa malariae. Protozoa falciparum is the most lethal of the four and accounts for the majority of infections. Malaria parasites are not able to survive unless they have both a mosquito and human host, however the disease cannot be hosted by any kind of mosquito, only those of the genus "anopheles".

Malaria is spread when the mosquito picks up the parasites from the blood of an infected human when it feeds. The mosquito will first recieve the malaria parasite from feeding on the blood of a person who may not neccessarily show symptoms of the disease, but has the parasites in their bloodstream. When the mosquito feeds again, these parasites will be passed on to another human being. Symptoms of malaria include fever, shivering, pain in the joints, headache, repeated vomiting, generalized convulsions, and coma. If not treated, the disease, especially that caused by protozoa falciparum, will progress to severe malaria. Severe malaria generally results in death.

Approximately 90% of of ...

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...DT has been in use in malaria control programs since the 1940's and has proved generally effective. The most common use of DDT in preventing the spread of malaria is to spray the backs of chairs and walls of a dwelling with the substance to keep out adult mosquitos who enter the dwelling to feed on those who live there. Though DDT treatments are still an effective way to stop the spread of malaria, some mosquitos have become resistant to the compound and therefore more methods of prevention must be utilized.

WWW Sources

1)Malaria Foundation International

http://www.malaria.org/

2)Malaria Fact Sheet

http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/en/

3)Division of Parasitic Diseases - Malaria

http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/parasites/malaria/default.htm

4)Malaria in Southern Africa

http://www.malaria.org.za/

5)Roll Back Malaria

http://mosquito.who.int/
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