Malaria

Malaria is a clinical disease which infects the red blood cells caused by the parasite Plasmodium malariae transmitted to a human from an infected female Anopheles mosquito. Malaria is common in Africa and tropical countries, killing an estimated 1 Million people per year.

Malaria is characterized by recurrent attacks of fever and chills, profuse sweating, headache, vomiting and diarrhea. The direct microscopic examination of the blood will reveal the parasite within the red blood cells, confirming the diagnosis of malaria. Rapid serologic test kits may also available for screening purposes.

Treatment Options

The type of drugs used and the length of treatment will vary, depending on the type of malaria parasite that one has, severity of symptoms, age and whether the individual is pregnant.

First Generation Anti-Malarials – Chloroquine is the most common drug used in the 1970’s and 1980’s to treat malaria. However, drug resistance is already becoming eminent. Hydroxychloroquine and Quinine sulfate are still being used in some countries.

Second Generation AntiMalarials – The drug Mefloquine and the combination of Atovaquone and Proguanil (Malarone) are the more recent drugs used to treat Malaria in the majority of cases. These same drugs may be used for prophylaxis purposes.

Vaccination – There is a vaccine against Plasmodium falciparum (the worst form of malaria) known as RTS,S/ASO1 which is currently being evaluated in 7 African nations. World Health Organization recommendations are still pending the final results of the clinical trial by 2014.

Outcome

The outcome for individuals with malaria is excellent with adequate treatment. The prognosis of the disease depends on the timeliness of diagnosis and treatment. Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum still carries poor prognosis, especially with cerebral malaria.

It is important to recognize that medications and medical procedures are associated with benefits and risks that should be discussed with your physician. It is important to recognize that all information contained on this website cannot be considered to be specific medical diagnosis, medical treatment, or medical advice. As always, you should consult with a physician regarding any medical condition. Your Health Access disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.