Malaria, one of the worlds most deadliest and well known diseases.
The word malaria means bad air in Italian. The disease was so named
because it was thought to be a result of rising swamp gases that got
into the air which caused the disease in humans. But in 1880,Charles
Laveran discovered a protozoal parasite in the blood of an ill patient.
There after,in 1898 Ronald Ross found that the bite of the female
Anopheles mosquito transmits the parasites into the bloodstream.
Once in the bloodstream the parasites make their way to the cells of
the liver where they reproduce asexually. After which,these cells
burst and release the parasite back into the bloodstream where they
reproduce asexually and feed on the hemoglobin in the cells. The red
blood cells burst and release both asexual and sexual forms of the
It is estimated by experts that nearly 300 million people world wide
contract the disease each year with an estimated 2 million deaths.
But there are various groups of humans that have build up a genetic
defence against malaria. Some African and Mediterranean people have
altered hemoglobin genes for which the parasite cannot thrive as
easily as it can in other hosts with normal hemoglobin. Unfortunately
people that inherit altered genes are more apt to contract sickle-cell
disease. Though many advancements have been made in preventing
malaria in Africa,the fight is far from over.
Prior to the 1630s there were very few known ways to cure or prevent
malaria,until Spanish missionaries uncovered an extract from the bark
of the cinchona tree which is native to South America. The
extract,alkaloid quinine,or quindine,were the only malarial fighting
drugs available during the first 50 years of the 20th century. Current
treatments would be chloroquine as first choice,or a combination of
pyrimethamine and chloroguanide. The malaria parasite has
discovered a resistance against choroquine, but when used with
another drug called desipramine, the resistance factor is being well
challenged. There is another promising drug that is being researched
for the treatment of malaria,( arteeher,) from the chemical
ginghaosu,which was derived from a herb called Artemisia.This herb
was discovered by a Chinese chemist and has been used for hundreds
of years by the Chinese to treat malaria and fever.
When it comes to preventing malaria,the best way is to control the
cause and spread of the disease; the mosquito; which is also linked to
the spread of yellow fever. So first; prevent the breeding of mosquitoes
by draining off standing water or by removing discorded containers
that can trap rain water; cut out grass and underbrush; kill the larvae
with oil, nicotin and other chemicals. In order to control the spread of
malaria, people that are infected with the disease should be placed in a
screened in environment to prevent mosquitoes from spreading the
disease from the sick to the healthy.In other words,prevent mosquitoes
from infecting people, prevent people from infecting mosquitoes.
History Of Malaria