New threat in the air {Health Issue}

In news

A new study has confirmed a drastic shift in the patterns of malaria occurrence in India, from widely reported cases of P. vivax (a mild form of malaria) to an increasing number of cases of P. falciparum (a virulent form of the disease).

Malaria in humans, which spreads through the female Anopheles mosquito, is caused by one of the four different species (or types) of the Plasmodium parasite — P. falciparum , P. malariae , P. ovale and P. vivax . Of these, infection with P. falciparum causes a fatal form of malaria while that with P. vivax results in mild infection.

New finding

In order to understand changes in the distribution of malaria cases, scientists at the ICMR-National Institute for Research in Tribal Health (NIRTH), Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, and their collaborators mapped the burden from different malaria infections from across India.

They collected blood samples from over 2,300 patients having malaria-like symptoms from 11 different geographical locations. Researchers also observed a high proportion of cases of mixed infections or infection of a patient by two or more species of the malaria parasite.

The need of this research

“India is planning for malaria elimination by 2030. But a shift in malaria occurrence is really daunting for targeted malaria elimination.

Report

In another development, at a high-level Malaria Summit in London, on April 18, collective commitments of $4.1 billion were secured from governments, the private sector, philanthropists and international organizations. The summit urged Commonwealth leaders to commit to halving malaria within five years. This would prevent 350 million cases of malaria and save 650,000 lives, predominantly children and pregnant women who are most at risk.

Malaria

It is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite.

It is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito.

Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.

In some places, malaria can be treated and controlled with early diagnosis. However, some countries lack the resources to do this effectively.

Currently, no vaccine is licensed for use in the United States or globally, although one is available in Europe.

Facts

  • Malaria is typically spread by mosquitoes.
  • Symptoms resemble those of flu, but, without treatment, the effects can sometimes be long-term and fatal.
  • Travelers, hikers, and campers can protect themselves with medication, pest control, clothing, and nets.

Malaria symptoms can be classified into two categories: uncomplicated and severe malaria.

 

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