There are a great number of diseases that are endemic in many of the poorer, developing nations due to the lack of sanitation and disease prevention programs in these areas. The steady increase of malaria epidemics in many of the African countries is a point of great concern, because this continent is home to 90% of the world’s total cases of this particular disease.
Malaria gets its name from “mal aria,” meaning bad air, because patients used to blame the sudden illness on the poor air quality of the nearby swamps. Scientists now know that malaria is a parasitic infection caused by a single-celled protozoan, Plasmodium. Of the four types of this parasite, Plasmodium falciparum is recognized as the most dangerous and lethal string that infects human beings. The female Anopheles mosquito transmits the disease through its saliva, and the protozoan enters the bloodstream and is carried to the liver. The indications of the illness can appear within a week of the exposure or it can take up to a year for the effects to become noticeable. Malaria has many flu-like symptoms, such as headache, fever, nausea, vomiting, sweating, tiredness, and general muscle pain. These characteristics are attributed to many forms of illness, which can prove difficult in the diagnosis of this serious disease early enough for effective treatment.
The treatment of malaria is commonly administered in the form of a DDT (dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane) antibiotic. This drug works to eliminate the parasite from the patients blood stream and, therefore, limit the chance of communicating the disease and infecting other people. The drug also significantly reduces the frequency of severity of the patient’s symptoms...
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...d Pestilence: From Ancient Times to the Present, Rev. Ed. New York: Facts on File, Inc., 2001. This article was an updated history of African malaria outbreaks and the specific causes of and reactions to these epidemics.
“Malaria.” CDC Division of Parasitic Diseases Information. 3 Mar. 2002. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. 5 Oct. 2002 <http://www.cdc.gov/ncidod/dpd/ parasites/malaria/default.htm >. This site gave important information about precautions that travelers should take before going to high-risk areas of the world.
“Malaria Facts.” NIAID Quickfacts Page. 17 Sept. 2002. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, NIH. 6 Oct. 2002 <http://www.niaid.nih.gov/ publications/malaria/contents.htm>. This NIH site provides an in-depth look at the infection/spread of malaria with multiple links for additional information.
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