Malaria is a mosquito borne infectious disease of the blood stream caused by a parasite. It is transmitted from person to person by the anopheles mosquito. Malaria symptoms have been traced back as early as the Ancient Chinese medical writings between 2700 BCE-340 CE. However, the Malaria parasite was officially discovered in 1880 by Charles Louis Alphonse Laveran. There are more than 100 different types of parasites that cause Malaria, Plasmodium falciparum is the most deadly of which commonly resides in Africa.
The incubation period for Malaria can range anywhere from 10 days to 4 weeks after the initial infection. The symptoms for Malaria can either be nonspecific or severe. Nonspecific symptoms may include vomiting, chills fever or headaches. More severe symptoms of the disease include jaundice, anemia, convulsions or comas. Malaria is most commonly found in the tropics. African populations are the most vulnerable for Malaria with 90% of all deaths occurring in the sub-saharan and 70% of those deaths are children under the age of 5. This is primarily due to lack of treatment and access to reliable and affordable health care.
Malaria can be diagnosed by having parasitological testing done, such as microscopy or rapid diagnostic tests. Once being confirmed with Malaria, treatment options are based on the severity of the progression of the disease. For treatment of uncomplicated Malaria, artemisinin-based combination therapies are recommended. These are labeled as the most effective antimalarial drugs to date. For treatment of more complicated cases of Malaria, patients should be treated with injectable artesunate as well as rounds of the artemisinin-based combination therapies.