Malaria is a vector-borne infectious disease caused by protozoan parasites. Malaria is a very widespread disease in the tropics and subtropics regions of the world including Africa, South Asia, and South and Central America, affecting over 650 million people and killing 1 to 3 million. Over half affected and killed are young children in Sub-Saharan Africa. This disease is an enormous public-health problem because it only takes one bite by a mosquito infected with parasites that causes this infectious disease to become apart of a humans body. Malaria cannot be transmitted from one person to another by just standing next to them you have to have contact with them.
Malaria didn’t just recently come about; it has affected on people for over 50,000 years. It could well have been a pathogen for the entire history but it has not been proven. The term malaria originated from medieval Italian and translated into “bad air”. Malaria has had a few names in the past like ague and marsh fever because of its association with swamps.
The first noted advance came in 1880 when Charles Louis Laveran, a French army doctor who worked in Algeria noticed parasites in the red blood cells of the infected people. He announced that malaria was caused by this protozoan and this was the first time that it had been known to cause a disease. The protozoan was later called Plasmodium by Ettore Marchiafava and Angelocelli. Some time later it was suggested that mosquitoes were transmitting this disease to humans by Carlos Finlay, a Cuban doctor. But it was Britain’s Sir Ronald Ross who finally proved it in 1898 by showing certain mosquito species transmitting malaria to birds and later isolated malaria parasites from salivary gland of mosquitoes that feed on infected bird. Sir Ross later became the Director of Malaria control effects in Panama, Greece, Egypt, and Macuitus. The works of Finlay, Ross, Marchifava, and Celli saved the lives of thousands of workers and helped developed methods used in future public health campaigns against this disease. The bark of a cinchona tree that contains quinine was the first effective treatment for malaria.
The Malaria Prevention Initiative spends over $1 billion a year to control malaria, the world’s largest health problem. In 2005 Bush launched the Presidents’ Malaria Initiative (PMI). He pledged to increase U.S. malaria funding more than $1.2 billion over five years in order to reduce death by malaria by fifty percent in fifteen African countries. He also challenged other countries to match him in things like private foundation and corporations that would help reduce the suffering and deaths caused by malaria. PMI had a goal and wanted it to be reached by contacting the child under 5 yrs of age and pregnant women. They will give these people proven and effective treatment measures. PMI also used a method that involved 4 keys components: indoor spraying of the homes with insectides, insecticide treated mosquito nets, lifesaving antimalarial drugs, and treatment to prevent malaria in pregnant women. PMI has impacted more than six million Africans just from the method with four key components. PMI coordinates with national malaria control pregnancy and international partners including Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, The World Bank, and Malaria Booster Program to name a few.
Diagnosing and Treating:
The diagnosis and treatment of malaria’s severe form has become an important matter. The microscopic diagnosis of malaria requires skill, experience, and availability of everyone at all times. There are some tests that don’t require as much skill but they haven’t been available in America for years. On June 13, 2007, the FDA approved the first malaria Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) for use of laboratories in the U.S. The test uses whole blood and takes only fifteen minutes. RDT is not able to detect if a patient has Malaria if they are infected with another disease.
The Center of Disease Control receives reports of one thousand to fourteen thousand cases of malaria every year. Some of these are as a result of international travel. Nearly seventy-five percent are acquired from victims who don’t use the recommended preventive medications. During the 1800’s quinine was used as the only drug to treat malaria until World War Two when more effective medicines were developed. Malaria control in war areas was created during World War Two to control the spread of this disease by mosquitoes in the south especially those surrounding military bases where troops could be affected.
There are ways to prevent malaria: such as using repellents, wearing protective clothing, and using netting. It has become a leading cause in death worldwide. If a person is diagnosed early and treated it can be cured. But a lot of people live in areas where the disease is common and get infected repeatedly and never recover. There have been programs aimed towards prevention of malaria by killing mosquitoes that carry the disease. If a person goes to the doctor they can ask for a vaccine and a drug used for anti-malarial infections. Malaria is at a low rate in the U.S. but it is widespread around. If a person travels on an airplane where malaria patients have been they should be tested three to four times back to back.
In conclusion, malaria is a widespread disease affecting more people daily. So everyone needs to protect themselves. Scientist are looking for a cure but there is not one yet found. There are people out there giving money to those foundations whose main purpose is to help those affected with the disease. For those people out there infected by Malaria don’t give up because help is on the way.
Deresinski, Stan. “Rapid Diagnostic Testing For Malaria.” Infectious Disease Alert 26(2007): 133,134.
Unknown, “U.S. AID Health Programs: Malaria and Child Survival.” Congressional Digest 86(2007): 198-199.
“Health and Disease.” Encyclopedia Britannica. 2007. Britannica Online. Retrieved and accessed on from 15 Oct. 2007 //search.eb.com/eb/article-258139