Malaria Day in the Americas 6th November 2020

Malaria is one of the most common human parasitic diseases  ranking first in terms of its socioeconomic and public health importance in tropical and subtropical region of the world.

In 2010, the World Health Organization estimates more than 216 million cases of malaria and 655.000 deaths occur every year worldwide, with 106 countries at risk of malaria infection

In humans, malaria parasites grow and multiply first in the liver cells and then exponentially in the red blood cells. It is the blood stage of the parasite lifecycle that causes the symptoms of malaria in humans. Malaria is usually classified as asymptomatic, uncomplicated or severe.

 

Asymptomatic malaria can be caused by all Plasmodium species, the patient has circulating parasites but no symptoms.

Uncomplicated malaria can be caused by all Plasmodium species. Symptoms generally occur 7-10 days after the initial mosquito bite. Symptoms are non-specific and can include fever, moderate to severe shaking chills, profuse sweating, headache, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and anemia, with no clinical or laboratory findings of severe organ dysfunction.

 

Severe malaria is usually caused by infection with Plasmodium falciparum, though less frequently can also be caused by Plasmodium vivax or Plasmodium knowlesi. Complications include severe anemia and end-organ damage, including coma (cerebral malaria), pulmonary complications (for example, oedema and hyperpnoeic syndrome) and hypoglycaemia or acute kidney injury. Severe malaria is often associated with hyperparasitaemia and is associated with increased mortality.