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City of Banjul
Thursday, June 30, 2022

Malaria

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By Fatou A.B Bojang
(4th year medical student)

UTG Medical Students’ Association

“Rainy season is never exciting for me, aside from mud, spirogyra and flies everywhere comes stagnant water a breeding ground for mosquitoes. Malaria at its peak and I have been trying as much to stay indoors but that does not stop me from having malaria”.

What is malaria????

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Malaria is a parasitic infection that can affect any individual and a potential life-threatening infection if not properly treated. Malaria is very common in The Gambia during the rainy season and the Gambia have an incidence rate of 59% in 2020 (ref;WHO).

What causes malaria???

Malaria is caused by a parasite called Plasmodium which is transmitted through a bite from an infected female anopheles mosquito. The  female anopheles mosquitoes bites from dust till dawn. There are five different species of plasmodium parasite; Plasmodium Falciparum, P. Vivax, P.Ovale, P.Malariae, P. Knowlesi. Plasmodium falciparum is the most common plasmodium species in the Gambia. It can also be transmitted through blood transfusion from an infected donor.

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Signs and symptoms of malaria

o          Headache

o          Fatigue (tiredness)

o          Malaise (feeling ill or restlessness)

o          Shaking chills (shivering)

o          Arthralgia ( joint pain)

o          Myalgia (muscle pain)

o          Sudden attack of fever, chills and sweat

Less common

o          Nausea and Vomiting

o          Diarrhea

o          Jaundice (yellowing of the skin)

Risk factors

o          Pregnant women

o          Children

o          People traveling to endemic zones

o          Living in an endemic zone

o          HIV positive patients

o          People that live in areas where there is stagnant water.

o          People in endemic zones that do not sleep under mosquito nets

Complication

1.         Cerebral malaria

2.         Severe Anemia

3.         Acute Respiratory Distress

4.         Pulmonary Edema

5.         Hypoglycemia

6.         Liver failure and Jaundice

7.         Shock

8.         Kidney failure swelling and Rupture of spleen

9.         Dehydration

10.       Death

Treatment

Malaria can be treated with antimalarial medication once detected. It is important to visit the nearest health centre once you feel an symptoms of malaria.

Prevention and Control

o          Use of mosquito nets

o          Removal of stagnant water

o          Educating communities on malaria

o          Use of insecticide

o          Prophylaxis should be given to pregnant women

o          Use anti-mosquito repellants lotions or sprays

Conclusion

Malaria is a life-threatening infection and it has been claiming lives. Always report to the nearest health facility if you are experiencing any sign or symptoms of malaria. Do not use any local herb to cure malaria, anti-malarial drugs are readily available, sleep under treated mosquito nets. Pregnant women should take their malaria prophylaxis dose to prevent complications.

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