On this Hippo Adventure Tours Blog Post we would like to give you a general overview of the tropical disease malaria and show ways how to counteract or avoid this disease in the best possible way. It also provides information on what to do in the event of an infection.
- What is Malaria?
Malaria is an infectious disease caused by a parasite: it is spread by the bite of an infected mosquito. People catch malaria when the parasite enters the blood. The parasite causes a deadly infection which kills many people each year.
The parasite that causes malaria is a protozoan called ‘Plasmodium’. Protozoa are organisms with only one cell, but they are not bacteria. Bacteria are smaller and simpler than protozoans.
Since medical research has not yet succeeded in developing a vaccine against malaria, the only
thing that remains for the tourist is to protect himself against an infection in the best
possible way and thus to prevent the onset of the disease.
- Ways to prevent infection by the malaria pathogen:
The best way to counter the threat of malaria is to minimize the risk of mosquito bites.
There are numerous means and procedures for this, which are based on different points. On the
one hand, it is possible to make mosquitoes as difficult to find as possible by repellents or
aerosols. On the other hand, mechanical barriers such as fly screens, mosquito net or
body-covering clothing can prevent mosquitoes from landing on the skin of humans.
Some people do not get malaria from mosquitoes. A baby can get it while inside its mother.
This is called maternal-foetal transmission. People can also get malaria from a
blood transfusion. This is when someone gives blood to another person. Another way people
can catch malaria is by using a needle that someone with the disease used before them.
Depending on the travel area, there are different risk potentials for the previously known
malaria species. While mosquito strains in some areas carry the most dangerous malaria
species “malaria tropica”, other destinations may harbor pathogens of the comparatively
benign forms malaria tertiana and malaria quartana, respectively.
- Symptoms of Malaria:
Symptoms are changes in someone’s body that are signs for a disease. Most people who get malaria get symptoms 10–30 days after they get infected (the Plasmodium gets in their blood.) But some people can get symptoms after only a week, and some may be infected with malaria and not have symptoms for a year.
The most common symptom of malaria is fever, when the body temperature is high. The fever from malaria usually comes very suddenly. The people who have Malaria often feel like they had influenza.
- Symptoms of malaria are:
- Headache (pain in head)
- Arthralgia (pain in joints)
- Chills (feeling very cold)
- Feeling very tired or sleepy
- Coma (when people are not conscious. They look like they are asleep, but they cannot be woken. )
- Delirium (when people are very confused because of a disease. They may look drunk. They may not be able to talk.)