Malaria is an infectious disease spread by the female Anopheles mosquitoes. This disease has been affecting people around the world since thousands of years. Until the connection between the disease causing organism and the vector carrying it was found, this was considered as a deadly disease. The role of mosquitoes in the epidemic was discovered by a British scientist called Ronald Ross who was then working in India. Following this, there were further studies conducted and this finally led to a cure. The medicine used is quinine which is got from the bark of cinchona tree, which is its only original source.
Mosquitoes act as carriers of the disease. When it bites a person with malaria, the disease causing organism passes through the blood and is then present in the saliva of the mosquito. A disease free person when bit by this carrier mosquito will become a victim of malaria, as the plasmodium parasite enters the blood stream of the person. It then travels through the blood and starts multiplying in the body by completing its life cycle.
When a person gets this disease, the first recognizable sign is a characterized fever. The body temperature rises and the patient starts getting severe shivering. After some time, the fever subsides and body remains in normal temperature for some time. After a definite time period, the fever starts again. This continues to occur for days, depending on the strain of the parasite that causes malaria.
Other accompanying symptoms are joint pains, anemia (due to blood cell lysis), and vomiting, retinal damage. Severe malaria can cause renal failure, leading to coma and even death. Small children when prone to this disease have seen showing some behavioral problems and abnormal posture which indicates brain damage. Such a condition is called cerebral malaria which is as a result of elevated anemia during rapid brain development.