Malaria disease occurs when an individual is bitten by a mosquito carrying the plasmodium parasite. Malaria is currently the reason for anywhere from 1.5 to 2.7 million deaths each year. The majority of these cases occur in children.
An individual is diagnosed with Malaria after experiencing the three phases of symptoms the cold phase, the hot phase, and the fever phase. First the physician would conduct a risk assessment. An individual who had traveled to an area at high risk for malaria would be a prime candidate. 80% of individuals in sub-Saharan Africa will present with fevers and will immediately be considered malaria infected and will be treated for the illness until further tests can be conducted.
Treatment for malaria varies from individual to individual. Each infected party is different. First it depends on the pasmodium parasite which infected the patient, whether the individual is a child, an adult, or even a pregnant female), which drug the parasite is susceptible to. Typically it is determined which drug will be effective based on the area and environmental conditions of the patient and where they might have contracted the infection. Medications for malaria are doled out based on location and environmental factors. Malaria types vary worldwide.
Individuals who have been infected with P. falciparum could potentially lose their life. This is often times due to slowed treatment. It is important for individuals to be treated immediately for symptoms of malaria. Drug treatment isn’t simple for the worst cases of the illness. A patient would need to consult with a physician who is working in the area in which the malaria symptoms initiated.
Malaria is preventable utilizing protective measures such as insect repellent containing DEET, mosquito nets while individuals sleep, shutting all windows and doors during sleep, and additionally taking antimalarial medications pre travel to areas prone to the illness.