In November 2018, the World Health Organization (WHO) released its latest report estimating 219 million cases of malaria in 2017, which was an increase of two million cases from 2016.
The report added that 11 countries carry 70 percent of the global burden. Those include Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ghana, Mali, Mozambique, Niger, Nigeria, Uganda, Tanzania and India.
In 2019, we have seen malaria outbreaks continue to occur across Africa. Malaria cases have also been on the rise in Venezuela and Brazil, where cases have increased by 71 percent since 2015. AIG Travel has assisted many customers with malaria symptoms over the past years,primarily in Asia and Africa. From our experience, the mortality rate for malaria is reduced when the disease is detected early; hence, it is important to be fully aware of the potential exposure to malaria when travelling to these endemic areas.
Malaria is a potentially fatal tropical disease caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium. It spreads through the bite of an infected female Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes are most active between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. There are four parasite species that cause malaria in humans:
Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax are the most common, while Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly. In recent years, some human cases of malaria have also occurred with Plasmodium knowlesi–a species that causes malaria among monkeys and occurs in certain forested areas of Southeast Asia.
The parasites develop in the intestine and salivary glands of the mosquito and can be passed onto humans the next time the mosquito bites. In humans, the parasite travels to the liver via the blood and then out into the bloodstream again, where it invades the red blood corpuscles (the cells that carry oxygen in the blood). Malaria can also be spread through blood transfusions, and the use of infected needles.
Typically 7 to 30 days pass between being infected and the onset of the disease. Symptoms include:
Once their temperature drops, the patient often sweats profusely and feels much better. Further symptoms may occur within a day or two. The symptoms diminish over the course of several weeks if the patient develops the ability to resist the malaria parasite. If proper treatment is given, the fever and parasites may disappear within a few days. If a case develops into severe malaria, the classic symptoms may be coupled with increased drowsiness and other complications including:
Prevention requires A, B, C and D:
Early diagnosis and treatment of malaria reduces the disease and prevents deaths. It also contributes to reducing malaria transmission. WHO also recommends that all cases of suspected malaria be confirmed using parasite-based diagnostic testing (either microscopy or rapid diagnostic test) before administering treatment. Results of parasitological confirmation can be available in 15 minutes or less. Treatment solely on the basis of symptoms should only be considered when a parasitological diagnosis is not possible.
Atovaquone / proguanil (Malarone)
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