Malaria is a disease that can be transmitted to people of all ages. Malaria is caused by parasites of the genus Plasmodium that are spread from one individual to another through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
The common first symptoms include fever, headache, chills, and vomiting. These symptoms appear 10-15 days after an individual is infected. If not treated promptly with effective medicines, malaria can cause severe illness that is often fatal.
Malaria transmission differs in intensity and regularity depending on local factors such as rainfall patterns, proximity of mosquito breeding sites, and mosquito species. The Anopheles mosquito, or more commonly referred to as the "common malaria" mosquito, transmits the disease of malaria. Some regions are endemic areas and have a fairly constant number of cases throughout the year. Other areas have "malaria" seasons, usually coinciding with the rainy season. The rainy season provides more places for standing water where the mosquito can lay eggs.
Large and devastating epidemics can occur in areas where people have had little contact with the malaria parasite, and therefore have little or no immunity. These epidemics can be triggered by weather conditions and further aggravated by natural disasters.
About 40% of the world's population, largely living in undeveloped countries, is at risk of malaria. Most cases and deaths are in sub-Saharan Africa where one in every five (20%) childhood deaths is due to the effects of the disease, such as dehydration. Every 30 seconds, a child in Africa dies from malaria. However, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and parts of Europe are also affected. Of these 2.5 billion people at risk, more than 500 million become severely ill with malaria every year and more than one million die from the effects of the disease.
Most American cases of malaria develop in travelers who have recently returned from parts of the world where malaria is widespread. If an individual is traveling to malaria-endemic places, it is recommended by healthcare professionals to take precautions before, during, and after the trip. Bednets, insecticides and antimalarial drugs are available for both the prevention and treatment of malaria.

Related Terms

Antimalarial, Artemesia annua, artemisinin, ELISA, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, epidemic, gametocytes, merozoites, oocyst, P. falciparum, P. malariae, P. ovale, P. vivax, Plasmodium, Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium ovale, Plasmodium vivax, pulmonary edema, sporozoites, trophozoites.