There are diseases that, because they are in epidemics, are usually the ones that are mentioned the most, not to mention what happens with the pandemic, where all hospitals collapse and in each person they look for signs of that global disease, but there are diseases that have a Permanence of centuries among us and they have not yet been eradicated, and in this case I am referring to Malaria.
This is an anthropozoonotic disease, that is, it can be transmitted from an animal to a human being. Unfortunately, according to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2020 there was a record of 627,000 deaths in 2020 of which 93% of these deaths were registered in Sub-Saharan African countries, and to make this figure even more alarming, 80% of these deaths were in children under 5 years old, very unfortunate.
But What is this disease, what are its characteristics, how is it transmitted?, this and more later in the development of this publication.
Let's start by defining what malaria is:
"Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists (a type of microorganism) of the genus Plasmodium." Source
I know that this terminology could be a bit confusing, but I will explain it in a simple way. It is a febrile illness that is generated when a mosquito (of the genus Anopheles) becomes infected with a parasite (of the genus Plasmodium). This parasite enters the bloodstream, where it enters the erythrocytes or red blood cells, and within these it reproduces constantly, until the moment arrives that causes the erythrocyte to burst and release all the hemoglobin and other metabolic waste, in addition to the parasites that have reproduced.
Then these parasites invade other erythrocytes and do the same process over and over again. This is part of what generates the problem or disease.
A few days ago I talked about what jaundice and its consequences is, which is one of the consequences of malaria. Therefore, I will limit myself to saying that it is the result of the release of hemoglobin and has consequences that can even be lethal in high quantities.
But it is not only about that, the elimination of red blood cells brings other problems with itself, one of them is anemia. As there is a considerable decrease in hemoglobin and erythrocytes, anemia is present, which will cause energy production to decrease since there will not be enough oxygen transported by hemoglobin to produce it.
On the other hand, the release of metabolic waste ends up affecting the kidneys in a very bad way, because that is where the "blood is filtered", they can saturate them and cause Acute kidney failure which can worsen by itself the whole frame. Because if the kidneys fail, the elimination of Urea and Creatinine can also be deficient. Remember at this point that both urea and Creatinine are only excreted by the kidneys and are potentially toxic.
But it does not end there, unfortunately. As I said at the beginning, it is a febrile illness, this fever occurs in cycles, there are periods of extreme fever (accompanied by chills, an important sign) and then it disappears. But why this?. Fever spikes coincide with, or rather are generated, by the release of parasites as they break through erythrocytes, and the body reacts to this infestation with fever and chills.
In turn, fever brings with it a dehydration process, which further compromises the kidneys, which are extremely sensitive to low blood levels, or as it is medically called, hypovolemia.
I know I am presenting this as a truly catastrophic picture, and it is. For this reason, the amount of death that occurs is so high.
Is there a cure? I could say yes, because there is a treatment for it, but it is effective if the treatment is established in time, and it is fully complied with.
Treatment varies depending on the type of parasite that has infected. Because I must emphasize at this point that there are basically 5 types of parasites that I will name below:
- Plasmodium vivax.
- Plasmodium ovale.
- Plasmodium malariae.
- Plasmodium knowlesi.
I must point out that the deadliest is Plasmodium falciparum. But, beyond treatment, the most important thing to be able to counteract this disease is prevention, and it is not difficult, but it requires the participation of all the communities of hand in hand with the health institution.
This disease is common in developing countries, in warm areas, those that meet the conditions for the mosquito to reproduce, because without it. Prevention is focused on eliminating mosquito breeding sites and fumigation, it is impossible for the disease to occur if there are no mosquitoes, hence the importance of taking measures in this regard.
Considering that the mortality rate is so high, and the ways to eliminate this disease is so simple, because it does not require great scientific knowledge or large investments, it is not justified that these unfortunate figures are so high.
I would like to add other interesting facts about this disease, and they are based on my personal experience.
Six years ago I worked in eastern Venezuela, a mining area, where the conditions for the proliferation of this mosquito are given, and unfortunately the care is not adequate, in fact it is non-existent, I was able to treat countless people with this disease, some who had the disease for the tenth time. Yes, it can repeat as many times as the person is exposed, in addition, they are not only infected with a single type of parasite, but they can even have up to three of these in their blood, which ends up worsening the condition.
I saw people die with this disease, basically because these mines are inside the jungle, under the "backing of groups outside the law", generally with the permission of the governments, but without any type of medical care. For this reason they do not have transportation either so that in the event that the disease occurs they can be removed quickly for care.
I assume that this is part of what happens in those countries of sub-Harian Africa, and for this reason the high rate of infections and deaths.
I hope this publication has served to have another vision of what this disease represents globally, and especially in the poorest countries of our planet. Any question or suggestion will be well received.
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