Understanding Malaria

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April 25th is World Malaria Day!

This year the World Health Organization is celebrating its 70th year of spreading malaria awareness. Do you know what is malaria? Malaria is a sickness where fever happens sporadically. It is caused by a parasite that enters your blood cells and is transmitted by mosquitoes. Yes, it is curable if the person has received the right diagnoses and medication.

The first few symptoms date back to the ancient Egyptian and Greeks, but the parasite was first discovered in 1880 by a surgeon in Algeria. He noticed the parasite in the blood of one of his patients and reported it as a disease.

There are five kinds of species that can cause malaria.

But the top one is plasmodium vivax (p.vivax) P.vivax is the most widespread. The second would be the plasmodium ovale and the less dangerous one would be the plasmodium falciparum—but it still can be deadly. They can be obtained by the female mosquito, Anopheles. You would mostly find them in warmer climates; such as Asia, South Africa (especially close to the Sahara Desert) and parts of South America. Without the heat, the parasites wouldn’t be mature enough to spread. Even though the mosquito is one of the main reasons how malaria spreads, there are a few ways a person can obtain malaria. It can be transferred by blood transfusion, such as receiving an organ transplant or sharing needles. An infected mother can also pass it on to their unborn.

Unfortunately, malaria is one of the world’s deadliest diseases.

To make it worse, its victims are five years old or younger. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there have been more than 200 million cases and more than 400 million deaths worldwide. This year, the WHO is stepping up their game. Their mission is to collectively commit to those in low-funded countries affected. They want to invest to be able to offer solutions to this countries in order to defeat malaria for good. Many of the countries who still have to deal with the ancient malaria conundrum have zero to none health care system and have a low poverty rate. In 2016, the WHO received about $2 billion from funds to deliver their mission for no more malaria. And it seems that their fight to get rid of malaria is still strong today.

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