Facts About Malaria Parasite

A young lady asked me why malaria parasite seem to affect everyone in the last few months. I answered her by saying it is because of the frequent rainfall in Nigeria.

Malaria parasite are microorganisms that belong to the genus plasmodium. There are over 100 species of plasmodium which can infect animals species. Five species of plasmodium has been recognized to infect humans in nature. They are:

  • Plasmodium falciparium
  • Plasmodium vivax
  • Plasmodium malariae
  • Plasmodium knowlesi
  • Plasmodium ovale

Plasmodium falciparium has been recognized to be a cause of zoonotic malaria in humans.

P. falciparium is found in tropical and subtropical areas, especially in Africa. P. falciparium can cause severe malaria because it can multiply rapidly in the blood and cause severe blood loss. It can also clog small blood vessels which causes cerebral malaria if it occurs in the brain.

Plasmodium ovale is also found in Africa (in west Africa) and islands of western Pacific.

Signs and Symptoms of Malaria

  • Headache
  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Convulsion
  • Anemia

Symptoms of malaria are usually a sudden coldness followed by shivering and then fever and sweating which occurs every two days. P. falciparium can cause recurrent fever every 36-48hours and almost continuous fever.

Symptoms of malaria can recur after varying symptoms depending on cause. Recurrence can be classified as either recrudescence or reinfection

Recrudescence

This is a result of inadequate or ineffective treatment, which enables the parasite to survive in the blood. This answers your questions on why you treat malaria three times in a month. It is either that the previous treatment was inadequate or ineffective for the parasite to get eliminated.

Reinfection

This means a new parasite was introduced to the body after the past parasite was eliminated.

Complications of Malaria

  • Cerebral malaria which occurs where the blood clog in the brain
  • Enlarged liver
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Low blood sugar
  • Anaemia which is very common in under 5 children
  • Hemoglobin in the urine

Prevention of Malaria

According to Wikipedia, malaria is more prevalent in over populated countries, countries with illiteracy and poverty. Using Nigeria as a case study, Nigeria has over 180million people and is ranked as the second poorest country in the world.

To eliminate malaria in our environment, it takes more than just treating malaria. It takes us living consciously without malaria.

1. Promoting environmental hygiene should come first

I traveled to the North yesterday and while I waited for my host to come pick me at the bus stop, I had to keep watch of mosquitoes that tried to feed on my legs. I was so annoyed, coupled with the fact that I wore a short gown.

Rainfall started in the month of April. In the last few days, there has been no day rain would not fall in a state in Nigeria, we have bad drainage system, stagnant water, and the road will be flooded with dirt.

This explains my first paragraph, the answer I gave the young lady that asked me why malaria is so rampant in this season.

2. Make use of insecticides in your various homes

3. Mosquito nets for students, especially in places where your doors or windows are not always locked.

4. Environmental hygiene

5. Medications

What other action do you think the Nigerian government should take to eliminate malaria parasite from Nigeria? Kindly share in the comments below.

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