Although, malaria mortality rates have fallen by 42% globally and 49% in Africa, this life-threatening disease needs to be watched and treated in time.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) latest estimates, released in December 2013, there were about 207 million cases of malaria in 2012 and an estimated 627000 deaths, mainly children under 5 years of age in sub-Saharan Africa.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes.
World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed on April 25 every year to highlight the need for continued investment and sustained political commitment for malaria prevention and control.
Malaria is a curable and preventable, but can be deadly if left untreated.
Preventive measures include:
Avoid mosquitoes bites: This is the first and foremost line of defence for malaria prevention. You can avoid mosquito bites by following these guidelines such as by - using a mosquito net while sleeping, wearing protective clothing (long sleeved-shirts and long pants), spraying your home with insecticide, staying inside between dusk and dawn if possible. Also insect repellent with DEET can be used on skin.
Medicines: If you're travelling to a region where malaria is common, you should take precautions so that you do not contract it. Tell your doctor which location you will be travelling so that he can prescribe you the right medicine depending on the type of malaria parasite most commonly found in that region. Take the medication as prescribed by your doctor – before, during and after your trip to avoid getting malaria.
Vaccines: As of now, there are no licensed vaccines against malaria or any other human parasite even as scientists are working on developing effective vaccines against the disease.