Malaria

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Each year there are about 250 million cases of malaria, and nearly 1 million people die of the disease. Dr. Edward Hill tells us more about malaria in todays 60 Second Housecall.

Dr. Hill:

Malaria is a potentially deadly disease caused by infection with the microscopic parasite Plasmodium. Plasmodium is transmitted to humans through bites from mosquitoes infected with the parasite.

Malaria is present in more than 100 countries, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia. Children and pregnant women are especially at risk of malaria.

Symptoms usually appear about nine to 14 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito and may include chills, fever, sweating, exhaustion, headaches, seizures and delirium.

Malaria is treated with drugs that interfere with the parasites life cycle or metabolism. If you think you have malaria, seek medical treatment immediately.

Prevention is based on avoiding exposure to mosquitoes and aggressively treating people who are infected. If you are traveling to an area where malaria is common, take anti-malarial drugs exactly as prescribed by your physician and prevent mosquito bites by:

Closing windows at night

Sleeping with a mosquito net

Covering your body as much as possible with clothing, and

Using insect repellent

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Im Dr. Edward Hill.