Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease affecting humans and other animals caused by parasitic protozoans (a group of single-celled microorganisms) belonging to the Plasmodium type Malaria causes symptoms that typically include fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headaches. In severe cases, it can cause yellow skin, seizures, coma, or death. Symptoms usually begin ten to fifteen days after being bitten. If not properly treated, people may have recurrences of the disease months later. In those who have recently survived an infection, reinfection usually causes milder symptoms. This partial resistance disappears over months to years if the person has no continuing exposure to Malaria.
The disease is most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bite introduces the parasites from the mosquito’s saliva into a person’s blood. The parasites travel to the liver where they mature and reproduce. Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be spread by humans. Most deaths are caused by P. falciparum because P. vivax, P. ovale, and P. Malariae generally cause a milder form of Malaria. The species P. knowlesi is a zoonosis causing increasingly disease in humans in Southeast Asia. Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDT’s). Methods that use the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to detect the parasite’s DNA have been developed, but are not widely used in areas where Malaria is common due to their cost and complexity. *
In 2015 the WHO estimated the number of Malaria cases at 214 million and the number of deaths 438 000. Every 2 minutes a child dies because of Malaria. Almost all of these deaths happen in sub-Saharan Africa. Early diagnosis and prompt treatment gives the best chance of survival in Malaria cases. Currently a big gap exists in the availability of high quality Malaria diagnosis, especially on the community level. Due to a lack of well-trained laboratory staff with the WHO Malaria expert certification.