An infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites from the Plasmodium family that can be transmitted by the bite of the Anopheles mosquito or by a contaminated needle or transfusion. Falciparum malaria is the most deadly type.
The symptoms of malaria include cycles of chills, fever, sweats, muscle aches and headache that recur every few days. There can also be vomiting, diarrhea, coughing, and yellowing (jaundice) of the skin and eyes. Persons with severe falciparum malaria can develop bleeding problems, shock, kidney and liver failure, central nervous system problems, coma, and die. Travelers to areas with malaria are advised to take medications to prevent infection if exposed. The treatment of malaria is with oral or intravenous medications, including chloroquine, mefloquine (Larium), or atovaquone/proguanil (Malarone).
Malaria transmission occurs primarily between dusk and dawn because of the nocturnal feeding habits of Anopheles mosquitoes. One should therefore take protective measures to reduce contact with mosquitoes, especially during these hours. These measures include remaining in well-screened areas, using mosquito nets, and wearing clothes that cover most of the body.
Additionally, one should have insect repellent for use on exposed skin. The most effective repellent against a wide range of vectors is DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide), an ingredient in many commercially available insect repellents. The actual concentration of DEET varies widely among repellents. DEET formulations as high as 50% are recommended for both adults and children > 2 months of age.
Travelers not staying in well-screened or air-conditioned rooms are advised to use a pyrethroid-containing flying-insect spray in living and sleeping areas during the evening and nighttime hours. They should sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets. Bed nets are more effective if they are treated with permethrin or deltamethrin insecticide; bed nets may be purchased that have already been treated with insecticide.
Among the many names for malaria are ague, jungle fever, marsh or swamp fever, and paludism.
- Malaria, falciparum
The most dangerous type of malaria, which is caused by the parasite Plasmodium falciparum. Falciparum malaria is associated with high levels of parasites in the blood and has the highest death rate and rate of complications of all types of malaria. Red blood cells that are infected with the parasite tend to sludge and lead […]
- Malaria, pregnancy-associated
Someone who is versed in or engaged in the study of malaria. “Independent malariologists believe it kills two million people a year, mainly children under 5 and 90 percent of them in Africa.” (Tina Rosenberg, writing in The New York Times, April 11, 2004)
The study of malaria. Someone who is versed in malariology is a malariologist.
- Malattia leventinese
An hereditary form of macular degeneration that results in progressive and irreversible visual loss. This disease is characterized by the appearance in early adulthood of small round white spots (drusen), particularly in the macula of the retina, which progress to form a honeycomb pattern. Malattia leventinese is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. The disease […]