Malaria is a disease caused by the protozoan parasite “Plasmodium”. It is a life-threatening disease that is caused by parasites and is transmitted to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes, but it is preventable and curable.
There are four species of Plasmodium that infects human, as well as animals, are P. falciparum, P. Ovale, P. malariae, P. Vivax. Two of these species P. falciparum, P. vivax pose the greatest threat.
Malaria is an acute febrile illness. In a non-immune individual, symptoms usually appear ten to fifteen days after the infective mosquito bite and symptoms include fever, headache, and chills may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria. If not treated within 24 hours, P. falciparum malaria can progress to severe illness, often leading to death. Every year about 1,700 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States. The vast majority of cases where malaria transmission occurs in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries.
Because of malaria Children frequently develop one or more of the following symptoms such as severe anemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or maybe cerebral malaria. In adults, multi-organ failure is also frequent. People may develop partial immunity in malaria-endemic areas allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.
Most of the current national malaria control program has set a goal to reduce the number of malaria-related cases and deaths. To reduce malaria transmission to a level where it is no longer a public health problem is the goal of what is called malaria “control.”
The diagnosis of malaria involves the identification of a malaria parasite or its antigens or products in the blood of the patient. Although this seems simple, the efficacy of the diagnosis is subject to many factors. This is confirmed by blood test and then it can be decided where it is microscopic or non-microscopic. This microscopic test staining and direct visualization of the parasite under the microscope.
To improve malaria prevention, diagnosis and treatment, limit the spread of the parasite and there are many challenges that the disease poses requires a combination of multiple strategies.
1. The impact of climate change
the MSF teams observed significant malaria spikes in several sub-Saharan African countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), Uganda, and Mali. sometimes, climate change also responsible for rising temperatures and increased rainfall seems to play a major role. These climate anomalies have also increased the number of malaria cases in regions that had previously been spared.
2. Resistance to insecticides
The vector control effort is one of the key components of malaria control strategies that seek to reduce human exposure to malaria bites through activities such as the use of insecticide-treated mosquito nets, insecticide spraying in and around homes, and elimination of mosquito larvae.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), more than half of Africa’s population has started to use mosquito nets in 2014, as compared to 2% in 2000. However, mosquito resistance to pyrethroids is rising and the main insecticides used to treat the nets. The nets treated with products of limited efficacy continue to be ordered in several countries where the disease is rife.
3. Prevention is effective but not lasting, strategies
According to the WHO, the number of malaria cases has declined by 47% globally, and by 54% in Africa. However, every year more than half a million lives are still lost because of this disease. Problems with recurring drug-resistance to malaria treatment and the accessibility of treatment go some way to explaining why malaria is still a global health issue. The strategies to prevent completely from malaria disease is not intended to become permanent tools but still, experts are trying for permanent tools that can prevent this viral disease.
4. The parasites resistance to anti malarials
The WHO recommended using artemisinin-based combination therapies that use a drug from Chinese traditional medicine to treat malaria. Now ACT replaces the sulphadoxine-pyrimethamine, which has become ineffective because of the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria, has become increasingly resistant to them. The lasts fifteen years, the uses of these new treatments significantly reduce the number of malaria-related death and the spread of resistance poses a major threat to public health.
5. The search for an effective vaccine
After decades of fruitless research, RTS found the first malaria vaccine. However, its efficiency is limited particularly against the severe forms of diseases and also it is complicated to use which involves four doses and required eighteen months of the waiting period between the administration of third and fourth doses.
MSF continues its ongoing researches to develop a safe, efficacious, inexpensive vaccine that is easy to use the developing countries.
6. Drug resistance malaria is a recurring problem
The parasites which spread the disease are becoming more resistant to the medicine used to treat malaria, which makes it more difficult to treat. This resistance may occur in various factors such as one of those people do not finish their course of treatment and in between, they stop when start feeling better. Another is the poorly pharmacists and store owners who allow patients to buy just a portion of a course of drugs as this is all that they can afford, yet this is not much effective. There is also a prevalence of counterfeit drugs on the market which is completely ineffective against the parasites.
7. Drug-resistance malaria is treatable but pricy
To treat with drug-resistance malaria the new treatment has been developed, but it comes at a high cost and for the lower range cannot afford it. The adult dose of the newer drug costing ten to twenty times more than the older anti-malarials. This often makes unaffordable for poor and needy people.