World Malaria Day

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World Malaria Day falls on April 25th and it’s currently one of the deadliest diseases in the world. It’s important for our fellow travelers to know the risks of traveling to Malaria-prone areas and know a few tactics for risk prevention.

 

What is Malaria?


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Malaria is a fatal disease of the blood that is caused by a Plasmodium parasite (a blood-feeding insect host that injects parasites into a vertebrate host during a blood meal). The plasmodium parasite is spread by female Anopheles mosquitoes, which are known as "night-biting" mosquitoes because they most commonly bite between dusk and dawn.

The disease is spread when a mosquito bites a person that is infected and spreads the disease to the next person. Once the person is bitten, the parasite enters the bloodstream and travels to the liver where the infection can develop further before returning to the bloodstream and invading the red blood cells.

 

Malaria Spreading Species


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Not all mosquitos carry the Malaria disease. In fact, there are 5 main species that can spread the disease from person to person:
  • Plasmodium falciparum is the most common type of malaria parasite and is also responsible for most malaria deaths worldwide. Found mainly in Africa.
  • Plasmodium vivax is the parasite that causes milder symptoms of Malaria. It can stay in the liver for up to 3 years and is mainly found in Asia and South America.
  • Plasmodium ovale is a fairly uncommon type of mosquito that can remain in the liver for several years without producing any form of symptoms and is mainly found in West Africa.
  • Plasmodium malariae is quite rare and usually only found in Africa.
  • Plasmodium knowlesi is also very rare and found in parts of Southeast Asia.
 

Symptoms of Malaria


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Symptoms of Malaria can form in 7 to 18 days of being infected or may even take up to a year before any serious complications arise.

The initial symptoms of malaria are flu-like and include a high temperature, feeling hot and shivery, headaches, vomiting, muscle pains, diarrhea, or just generally not feeling well. These symptoms are caused by parasites multiplying in red blood cells and infected blood cells bursting at 48-72 hour intervals which are when the symptoms are mainly experienced.
 
 

Malaria Prevention


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Here are a few tips for how to prevent Malaria when you're traveling to a high risk area: 
  • Antimalarial medication – consider taking antimalarial medicine when travelling to areas where there’s a risk of malaria. The correct dosage can eliminate your risk of being infected by about 90 percent. This medication can be prescribed by a medical practitioner and varies depending on where you’re traveling, age, and past medical history.
  • Safe hotel rooms – stay somewhere with effective air conditioning and screening on doors and windows. If this is not available, make sure to sleep under a mosquito net that has been treated with insecticide.
  • Insect repellent – using insect repellent on your skin during the daytime along with the nighttime can help keep mosquitos away. Just remember to reapply frequently and make sure they contain diethyltoluamide (DEET) which is the most effective repellent.
  • Clothing – wear loose-fitting trousers rather than shorts and wear shirts with long sleeves especially during the evening to night period when mosquitos usually bite. It’s good to cover up so mosquitos have less room to smell and get attracted to your blood.
  • Medical Advice – Seeking advice from a medical practitioner may prove to be helpful especially before you decide to travel. They may be able to prescribe emergency medications for prevention along with help diagnose any symptoms. 
 

How Global Travel Plus Can Help


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Before planning your trip, make sure to do thorough research about the type of area you are travelling to and the risks associated with the area. Global Travel Plus offers Pre-Trip Information for all users that may help in identifying any precautionary measures you should take before travelling.
 
Posted: 4/26/2019 9:00:00 AM