History of Malaria

Malaria, one of the world's 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. Thereafter, 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 parasite. 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 or quinine 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