India also needs a stronger malaria surveillance system to combat the disease
New Delhi, December 2, 2017: As per recent reports, India accounts for about 6% of the world’s new cases of malaria and 7% of deaths caused by the disease. India accounts for about 90% of the estimated number of malaria cases followed by Indonesia (9%) and Myanmar (1%) in the Southeast Asia region. The country has also been found to be one of the weakest in terms of malaria surveillance systems. Despite efforts at various levels, malaria remains an acute public health challenge in India.
Malaria is a life-threatening mosquito-borne blood disease caused by a Plasmodium parasite. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of the Anopheles mosquito. Once an infected mosquito bites a human, the parasites multiply in the host’s liver before infecting and destroying red blood cells.
Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, National President Indian Medical Association (IMA) and President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Dr RN Tandon – Honorary Secretary General IMA in a joint statement, said, “Malaria is transmitted by the bite of a female anopheles mosquito. The mosquito bite occurs mainly between dusk and dawn. Five types of Plasmodium parasite can infect humans. They are found in different parts of the world. Some cause a more severe type of malaria than others. Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion, or via sharing of contaminated needles. The behavior of the mosquitoes may differ. Some may prefer to rest indoors and feed indoors in the night. Some may prefer to rest and feed outdoors earlier in the day. Preventive therapy of malaria can be instituted during pregnancy in high risk areas. The malarial mosquito feeds every third day compared to the dengue mosquito, which feeds three times in a day.”
Symptoms of severe malaria include the following: fever and chills; impaired consciousness, prostration, or adopting a prone position; multiple convulsions; deep breathing and respiratory distress; abnormal bleeding and signs of anemia; and clinical jaundice and evidence of vital organ dysfunction.
Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, said, “Pregnant travelers should defer travel to areas where risk of malaria is high until after delivery. For non-immune pregnant women who cannot defer travel, chemoprophylaxis with chloroquine and mefloquine depending on travel to areas with chloroquine-sensitive or resistant malaria is recommended. Pregnant women from endemic areas, who due to prolonged exposure to malaria, have developed natural immunity benefit from chemoprophylaxis.”
Here are some tips to prevent malaria.
- Malaria mosquitoes grow in fresh water collected in the house. It is therefore important to not let water stagnate in your house and the surrounding areas. Mosquito cycle takes 7-12 days to complete. So, if any utensil or container that stores water is cleaned properly once in a week, there are no chances of mosquito breeding.
- Mosquitoes can lay eggs in money plant pots or in water tanks on the terrace if they are not properly covered. If the water pots for birds kept on terraces are not cleaned every week, then mosquitoes can lay eggs in them.
- Using mosquito nets/repellents in the night may not prevent malaria because these mosquitoes bite during the day time.
- Malaria mosquitoes do not make a sound. Therefore, mosquitoes that do not produce a sound do not cause diseases.
- Wearing full sleeves shirt and trousers can prevent mosquito bites. Mosquito repellent can be helpful during the day.