End Malaria for Good



Mosquitoes are vectors for so many diseases caused by microorganisms that cause deaths worldwide.
Mosquito-borne illnesses include malaria, West Nile virus, elephantiasis, dengue fever, yellow fever, Zika etcetera. About 700 million people get a mosquito borne illness each year resulting in greater than one million deaths. Of all these diseases, malaria is the most significant and was once known to be the leading cause of death among African children. This is no longer so as some countries have committed themselves to ending malaria for good. In spite of the country level and global efforts at eradicating malaria, Sub-Saharan Africa remains the highest bearer of the global malaria burden. In 2015, Sub-Saharan Africa accounted for 88% of the global malaria cases and 90% of malaria deaths with more than 70% of this deaths occurring among children that are less than 5 years of age.
Of the 4 parasite species of Plasmodium species that cause malaria in humans, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium vivax pose the greatest threat. Though P. falciparum is more prevalent in Africa and is responsible for most malaria-related deaths, P. vivax has a wider distribution worldwide. Malaria is treatable but if not treated within 24 hours, malaria caused by P. falciparum can progress to severe illness which often leads to death. On biting an infected person to obtain food needed for her eggs, a female Anopheles mosquito picks the Plasmodium. The parasites develop, reproduce within the mosquito and are passed into the blood of a bitten person via the saliva of Female Anopheles mosquitoes.

Upon getting into the human body, Malaria parasites multiply rapidly in the liver and then in red blood cells of the infected person. One to two weeks after a person is infected the first symptoms of malaria appear: usually fever, headache, chills and vomiting. If not treated promptly with effective medicines, malaria can kill by infecting and destroying red blood cells and by clogging the capillaries that carry blood to the brain or other vital organs. Destruction of red blood cells result in
 1.     The release of merozoites and large amount of haemoglobins into the blood stream.
 2.      Anemia due to reduction in the number of red blood cells.

By Ifeyinwa Ugo-Amadi
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