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All About Malaria - Coursework Example

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All about Malaria Introduction Malaria is a serious infection caused by the bite of mosquitoes. The parasite that causes malaria is known as Plasmodium. When an infected mosquito bites man Plasmodium is transmitted to the individual’s body and cumulates in number…
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Download file to see previous pages 451). As studies indicate (Rietveld & Schlagenhauf 2008, p.214), malaria produces more complications in pregnant women and young children because these groups are more vulnerable to malaria. If diagnosis for this infection is not done at proper time, it may lead to disastrous results. The disease is said to have supplied by chimpanzees and gorillas to mankind. The comparative lack of genetic variations in plasmodium falciparum also testifies that it has the recent origin from some other primate species (ibid). How malaria is caused Normally this disease is transmitted to people by a certain kind of female mosquito called Anopheles. These parasites are usually found in the saliva of the female mosquitoes of this type. As described by Jacoby and Youngson (2004 p. 1123), when a person is bitten by a female mosquito, the parasite enters the bloodstream through the mosquito’s saliva and makes their way to the liver. Initially, they cause no troubles, but the infected liver then gets damaged releasing merozoites that badly affect the red blood cells (ibid). The multiplying parasites eventually cause the signs of malaria in the host. As stated above, the parasite that causes malaria is called a plasmodium. Typically, there are four different species that cause this disease in man. They are plasmodium falciparum, plasmodium malariae, plasmodium vivax and plasmodium ovale. Among them, the most dangerous one is plasmodium falciparum as it causes most serious complications and often becomes fatal. The rests are less malignant that cause severe fever at alternative intervals. Another peculiar characteristic of these non falciparum parasites is that they may get into the liver and be inactive for long; and the disease will be caused long after original infection (ibid). The different phases of communication and the life cycle of malaria parasites in the human body are illustrated in figure 1. (Figure 1: Source: Davis & Shiel, n.d.) Symptoms of Malaria If a person is affected with malaria, the signs will be visible from ten to twenty eight days of the mosquito bite. The first sign will be tiredness and loss of liveliness. The affected person will have continuous muscle pain and pain in the joints. Some other symptoms of malaria include fever, headache, nausea and diarrhea. The symptoms also include shivering and fever, heavy sweating and fall in temperature. As Ichhpujani and Bhatia (2002 p. 98) points out, Blackwater fever is another complication of malaria in which red blood cells break and release hemoglobin directly into the blood. Cotter (2001, p.39) finds that hemolysis, which is the phenomenon of red blood cell breakage, is the direct cause of Blackwater fever. The most alarming factor about malaria is that the parasites have developed resistance to a number of malaria medicines. Malaria Diagnosis It is a hard task to diagnose malaria with the clinical criteria as the general symptoms of malaria such as fever and headache are common to a number of illnesses. Therefore, in highly industrialized countries where malaria is rarely reported, physicians have to order special test to identify the presence of malaria. The widely used method of malaria diagnosis test is the Giems blood smear on a microscope slide that is discolored to show the parasites that have got into the red blood cells. The slide of such a blood smear showing Plasmodium parasites are pictorially represented in figure 2. (Figure 2: Source: Jacoby & Younson, 2004.). Though this test is comparatively easy, the ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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