Topics: Malaria, Plasmodium, Apicomplexa Pages: 6 (1353 words) Published: September 28, 2014

Malaria is one of the most devastating and infectious disease in many areas of the world and more or so in many developing countries in Africa, Asia, Middle East, South America and Central America. This disease has been noted for more than 4000 years (Center for disease control, Para 3). In addition, Malaria causes death in children after prenatal conditions, lower respiratory infections, and diarrhea diseases. The number of children dying from the disease is higher than in adults. The number of people infected with malaria worldwide could be almost twice as high as previously predicted, according to an international study conducted by the World Health Organization (WHO). They further estimated that, in 2002, 2.2 billion people were exposed to infection by the Parasite Plasmodium and more than 1 million deaths are recorded annually (World Health Organization, Para 5). Malaria is caused by apicomplexan parasites of the genus Plasmodium. Charles Louis Alponse Lavern, who was a French army surgeon stationed in Algeria, Africa, was the first to notice the parasites in the blood of a patient suffering from malaria. The four species that infect humans are Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, and Plasmodium ovale (Medical Microbiology, pg 935-39). The infection is acquired through mosquito bites by the members of the genus Anopheles.

Modes of Transmission.
The life cycle of the Malarial Parasite goes through three stages as seen in the next page.

Diagram of Plasmodium parasite life cycle. Image taken from the Malaria Foundation link. The sporozoan parasite replicate in the presence of the mosquito and a human host. In Stage 1, the female Anapholes mosquito secretes anticoagulant and releases parasitic sporozoites found in its salivary gland into the human host when it bites into it. The sporozoites penetrate and multiply into the liver cells. These proceeds to stage 2 which takes place after 9 – 16 days. The parasitic merozoites rupture from the liver and invade the Red blood cells. Here they undergo erthrocytic schizogony and rupture the RBC, releasing merozoites, which reinvade the liver or micro- and macrogametocyte, which circulate in the blood stream. The last stage is when the gametocytes are taken up by the mosquitoes where they undergo sexual reproduction. An oocyte develops after fertilization and ruptures, releasing the sporozoites. These migrate to the salivary gland, where they await transfer to another human host (Malaria and Drug Resistance, Para 12). CLINICAL SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

Suspicion of Malaria is based on a patient’s symptoms and the physical findings at the examination. Laboratory tests give a very definitive diagnosis for they demonstrate the malaria parasites or their components. The following are the first symptoms of malaria:

Muscle Pains
Nausea and vomiting.
Elevated temperature
Perspiration and tiredness.
In severe malarial cases, some of the clinical findings are: confusion, coma, neurologic focal signs, severe anemia, jaundice (yellow color of the skin and eyes), respiratory difficulties, kidney failure and even death (Microbiology Principles and Explorations, pg 715). These may increase the suspicion index for malaria and therefore it is recommended to recognize malaria symptoms promptly in order to treat the patient in time and to prevent further spread of infection. EPIDEMIOLOGY

The three major factors that influence the Occurrence of malaria are the presence of Anopheles mosquitoes, humans and the malaria parasites. Different species of Anopheles mosquitoes in an area can intensify malaria transmission. Some are biologically unable to carry human malaria parasite compared to others who readily infect and produce large numbers of sporozoites. Humans have different biological characteristics whether inborn or acquired, and different behavioral traits that influence a persons malaria risk and the...

Bibliography: Bradley, Titus. “Malaria and Drug Resistance”. 1996.
Black, Jacquelyn G
The History of Malaria, an Ancient Disease. Center for Disease Control. 24 June, 2006
Turner, Jerrold A., et al
New York, NY: Wiley- Liss, Inc., 605 Third Avenue, 1994. Pg 935-939.
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