Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Multiple mosquito blood meals accelerate malaria transmission

Multiple bouts of blood feeding by mosquitoes shorten the incubation period for malaria parasites and increase malaria transmission potential, according to a study published December 31 in the open-access journal PLOS Pathogens ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Child malaria deaths 'slashed by rainy season regimen'

Giving antimalarial medicines to children monthly during the rainy season cut malaria deaths in children by 42 percent, making a case for wide implementation in malaria-endemic African regions, a study found.

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Researchers use artificial intelligence to ID mosquitos

Rapid and accurate identification of mosquitoes that transmit human pathogens such as malaria is an essential part of mosquito-borne disease surveillance. Now, researchers reporting in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases have ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Diabetes and obesity risk factors for severe malaria

Infectious diseases doctor Katja Wyss's thesis is the product of many years' research on malaria in Sweden. With clinical data from almost 3,000 diagnosed cases over a twenty-year time span, Katja Wyss at Karolinska Institutet's ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

WHO warns malaria fight flat-lining

Progress in eliminating malaria has stalled in recent years, the World Health Organization said Monday, with more than 400,000 people once again estimated to have died from the disease last year.

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma or death. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be transmitted by humans. Severe disease is largely caused by Plasmodium falciparum while the disease caused by Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae is generally a milder disease that is rarely fatal. Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonosis that causes malaria in macaques but can also infect humans.

Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water (where mosquitoes breed). Despite a clear need, no vaccine offering a high level of protection currently exists. Efforts to develop one are ongoing. A number of medications are also available to prevent malaria in travelers to malaria-endemic countries (prophylaxis).

A variety of antimalarial medications are available. Severe malaria is treated with intravenous or intramuscular quinine or, since the mid-2000s, the artemisinin derivative artesunate, which is superior to quinine in both children and adults. Resistance has developed to several antimalarial drugs, most notably chloroquine.

There were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009. An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a 5% decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with ~60% of deaths being young children under the age of five. Plasmodium falciparum, the most severe form of malaria, is responsible for the vast majority of deaths associated with the disease. Malaria is commonly associated with poverty, and can indeed be a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development.

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