Malaria is a parasitic infection transmitted from person to person by the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
These mosquitoes usually bite from around dusk to dawn.
Once transferred to the human body, the infection travels to the liver where it multiplies and then enters the red blood cells.
Inside the red blood cells the parasites multiply rapidly until they burst, releasing even more parasites into the blood stream.
There are four main species of the malaria parasite: Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium vivax, and Plasmodium ovale.
P. falciparum is the main cause of severe clinical malaria and death.
Symptoms of Malaria
Malaria begins as a flu-like illness, with symptoms first occurring nine to 14 days after infection. Symptoms include fever (typical cycles of fever, shaking chills, and drenching sweats may develop), joint pain, headaches, frequent vomiting, convulsions, and coma.
If simple malaria is left untreated, it can become severe—around eight million malaria cases progress to severe malaria annually. Death from malaria may be due to brain damage (cerebral malaria), or damage to vital organs. The reduction of red blood cells can cause anemia.
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