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An Aedes canadensis mosquito isolated on white background. Aedes canadensis are a common pest mosquito and may be possible West Nile Vectors.

Malaria is a serial killer, but it is preventable and treatable,’ says Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control-

Globally, 3.2 billion people are at risk of malaria worldwide. Malaria sees no class, colour or creed! Many do not know that malaria can present itself with flu-like symptoms, and it can be contracted by a single mosquito bite. Malaria is a silent killer.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) an estimated 219 million malaria cases and 445 000 malaria deaths were reported worldwide during 2017 (WHO report, 2018). Of those, 92% (200 million) of the cases occurred in the WHO Africa region, specifically sub-Saharan Africa. Children under the age of five, pregnant women, and immune-deprived and elderly people are worst affected. Every two minutes a child dies from malaria in sub-Saharan Africa.

This complex disease is transmitted by malaria parasite-infected female mosquitoes of the Anopheles genus, typically biting people in the time period between dusk and dawn. Malaria is a major public health concern, and many assume that malaria does not affect them and that they are safe. South Africa and Nigeria is among the countries in Africa that still battle with malaria, with more than 10% of the South African population living in malaria-endemic areas.

Malaria is both preventable and treatable

The University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control (UP ISMC), through trans-disciplinary research, focuses on malaria elimination through safer and sustainable malaria control techniques, including innovative and novel ideas, which will make a difference in the ongoing struggle to beat this devastating disease. “People need to be made aware of malaria, how dangerous it really is, how easy it is to contract the disease, and how one can avoid getting sick,” said Prof Tiaan de Jager, Director: University of Pretoria Institute for Sustainable Malaria Control and Dean at the Faculty of Health Sciences. Prof De Jager was speaking at the 2nd African Conference on Health Effects of Endocrine Disruptors, where he introduced new and innovative ways of ending malaria, including education and health promotion strategies, and the Malaria.

Malaria elimination means zero local transmission of malaria within a country. Control is managed through early diagnosis with the aid of rapid diagnostic tests (RDTs), treatment using artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT), intermittent preventive treatment for pregnant women (IPTp), and vector control strategies including bed nets and indoor residual spraying.

Control, management and the prospect of eliminating the disease is impeded by the complexity of the host-vector-parasite-environmental interactions. Various challenges exist in the drive towards malaria elimination both in South Africa and globally. Climatic changes and/or population movements may favour malaria transmission, possibly reintroducing the disease in malaria-free areas.

Malaria symptoms can be uncomplicated or complicated. Uncomplicated symptoms include bouts of mild fever accompanied by flu-like symptoms, alternating with periods of absence of feeling sick. During the intermittent fever period, predominant and vague symptoms include headaches, malaise, fatigue, nausea, minimal vomiting, muscular pains, slight diarrhoea and a slight increase in body temperature. Symptoms of complicated or severe malaria include delirium, generalised convulsions, impaired consciousness and respiratory distress.

The best way to avoid getting malaria is to avoid being bitten by mosquitoes. The recommended ways are:

▪️Avoid going out between dusk and dawn when mosquitos usually bite.
▪️Wear long-sleeved clothing if going out at night.
▪️Avoid wearing dark colours, because they attract mosquitoes.
▪️Apply insect repellent to exposed skin.
▪️If possible, stay in a well-constructed and well-maintained building.
▪️Use screens over windows and doors.
▪️Use anti-mosquito sprays or insecticide dispensers, or burn mosquito coils at night.
▪️Sleep under insecticide-treated bed nets.
Prophylaxis may be prescribed to protect against clinical symptoms.

▪️#Some #Facts about Malaria:-

1. The word “malaria” means “bad air.” In the 18th century people thought that malaria was caused from breathing in bad air in marshy areas. In 1880 scientists discovered that this was not true, but the name stuck.

2. Malaria is spread by parasites. Five different parasites can cause malaria in humans, but the Plasmodium falciparum parasite is the most deadly. The parasites enter the human bloodstream through the bite of an infected mosquito.

3. Malaria is most commonly found in Africa and parts of Southeast Asia. Mosquitoes thrive in tropical and subtropical climates, so countries that are near the equator are more at risk. Additionally, many African and Southeast Asian countries have high poverty rates and people do not have access to malaria prevention and treatment, or are not educated on the disease.

4. Malaria can pass from human to human. You cannot “catch” malaria like you can a cold, but people can pass it on by sharing needles, blood transfusions and through pregnancy.

5. When infected with malaria, symptoms can range from none to severe. It can take anywhere from 9-40 days for symptoms to appear. Early symptoms can include fever, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, chills, headache, muscle aches, cough and sweating. If not treated within 24 hours the disease can worsen, leading to seizures, impairment of brain and spinal cord function, loss of consciousness and death.

6. Malaria infects an average of 200 million people each year. Up to 1 million of these 200 million will die every year. Of malaria deaths, 90 percent occur in Africa. In Africa one child dies from malaria every minute.

7. There is a cure for malaria. There are different drug treatments available depending on the strain of malaria an individual is infected with. The drugs cure malaria by killing all of the parasites within a person’s bloodstream. However, new waves of drug-resistant malaria are threatening the lives of millions.

8. The best cure for malaria is prevention. There are two major ways that malaria is prevented. Insecticide-treated mosquito netting placed around beds is a good way to keep people safe while they sleep, and spraying a household with residual insecticide will effectively eliminate mosquitos in the house for three to six months.

9. Mortality rates are falling. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have fallen by 42 percent globally. This is largely due to increased prevention and faster testing and treatment to those who are thought to have malaria. By 2023, 52 countries are expected to have reduced their number of malaria cases by 75 percent. In the past four years the countries of Morocco, United Arab Emirates, Turkmenistan and Armenia have been certified by the World Health Organization as having eliminated malaria.

10. There is a promising vaccine currently being tested. While there is currently no vaccine on the market to prevent against malaria, there is one being tested via clinical trial in seven African countries with positive results. Scientists feel very encouraged by this new treatment and the vaccine could be ready for full-time use as early as 2020.

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