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What is Malaria?

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Many of us in the west know a little about malaria, for instance most of us know that it is transmitted by mosquitoes and that there is a lot of malaria in Africa. This general knowledge is fine for most of us who don't live in a malaria zone, but if you are planning to go on holiday to an malaria risk area, like on a safari holiday in Africa for example, it is important that you know a little more about the disease to prevent yourself getting it.

Malaria shouldn't be a reason not to go traveling, so long as you take the right steps to make sure you don't get it.

So What is Malaria?

Malaria is mostly found in tropical areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa, Central and South America, the Indian subcontinent, South East Asia and the Pacific islands. Malaria is an infectious disease that is caused by being bitten by a mosquito carrying a type of parasite called Plasmodium.

Malaria Life Cycle

Once bitten, the malaria parasite moves through your blood and then into your liver, where it develops and grows.

Once it has become fully developed, it travels back into your bloodstream and starts to attack your red blood cells, and it is then that you will experience the malaria symptoms.

More About the Parasite Plasmodium

Did you know that you can only catch malaria if a female mosquito that is carrying the malaria parasite called plasmodium bites you. It also has to be a specific type of mosquito known as Anopheles.

The malaria parasite comes in four different types:

Plasmodium vivax - this causes benign malaria with less severe symptoms than P. falciparum. P. vivax. It can stay in your liver for up to three years and can lead to a relapse.

Plasmodium falciparum - this is the only parasite that causes malignant malaria. It causes the most severe symptoms and results in the most fatalities.

Plasmodium ovale - this causes benign malaria and can stay in your blood and liver for many years without causing symptoms.

Plasmodium malariae - this causes benign malaria and is relatively rare.

About 75% of all cases of malaria are caused by Plasmodium falciparum is, Whilst most of the other cases of malaria are caused by Plasmodium vivax.

Is it true some people are immune to Malaria?

Yes, there are some people that live in an area that has malaria develop an immunity to malaria . This immunity will disappear if that person moves away from that area.

Is it true that Malaria is Africa's Biggest Killer?

Yes, many people assume that crocodiles, lions or any of the other Big 5 animals, in Africa would be the most dangerous animal in Africa. But there are over 500 million cases of malaria worldwide of which between one and three million people die from it every year, the majority of whom are young children in Sub-Saharan Africa.

Can you catch malaria from an infected person?

No, malaria can't be caught directly from another person. It's spread by the bite of infected mosquitoes. However, in extremely rare cases it can be transmitted through the blood of an infected person, for example if you are injected with a needle that has already been used by a person with malaria or if you have a blood transfusion and the blood has been taken from an infected person.

Do people who have had malaria fully recover?

Yes most people do make a full recovery, with eighty percent of people who were previously healthy making a full recovery from malaria

If you think you may have Maleria:

Check out the Symptoms of Malaria & Malaria Medication: Tablets & Pills.

Note: The information about malaria and advice published or made available through the Safari-Guide web site is provided for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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