Malaria poses one of the biggest risks to people travelling abroad. Malaria is still considered to be the most dangerous disease on the planet, causing more deaths every year than any other infection. More than 1,500 people return to Britain every year with malaria, and despite the best possible treatment, for around 2% of them the disease is fatal.
Malaria is a serious and sometimes fatal tropical blood disease caused by a parasite called plasmodium that is transferred by an anopheles mosquito; this single-cell organism lives in the anopheles species of mosquito. Malaria is so easy to contract as it is most commonly contracted through a mosquito bite when visiting foreign countries.
When a person is bitten by a mosquito, the malaria parasite is exchanged during the blood exchange entering the bloodstream and quickly migrating to the liver, where they multiply before being released into the bloodstream.
Here they begin invading the red blood cells and multiply until they burst, releasing large numbers of parasites into the bloodstream that infect other red blood cells and repeat the process. This whole process does not take a long time to occur and usually results in the symptoms associated with malaria such as a very heavy fever, fatigue, vomiting and diarrhoea.
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Malaria was first discovered as a harmful blood parasite in 1880, with nearly 3 billion people at risk of malaria. The main cause of malaria - the parasite plasmodium, is a small, single-cell organism that can be spread to humans via the bites of infected mosquitos.
There are over 100 types of plasmodium parasites, but five are identified to commonly infect humans and have various effects on the carrier.
As it multiplies and spreads through the body, malaria usually starts in the form of flu and fever like symptoms. The incubation period (the time of infection until the appearance of symptoms) for each parasite type usually differs:
During the early stages symptoms that can be experienced are very similar to that of severe influenza.
Because of the loss of red blood cells, malaria can also lead to jaundice and anaemia, however the vast majority are treated before it reaches this stage. Certain cases have also reported increased back pain and an enlarged spleen.
The plasmodium falciparum being the most dangerous of the plasmodium malaria parasites can potentially create more dangerous symptoms, leading to kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion and coma.
There are a number of significant benefits that can be experienced when treating Malaria. These benefits can include the following:
such as severe anaemia and cerebral malaria.
if malaria is treated promptly
such as fever, nausea, fatigue and influenza-like symptoms
can be successfully avoided if treated promptly
Malaria is most common in hot and humid climates, where the anopheles mosquito lives and thrives. Hotspots in the world where there is a high risk of malaria include:
The fatal plasmodium falciparum malaria parasite is more prevalent in Africa, but is also found in Latin America, Asia and Oceania.
There are a number of basic steps you should take when attempting to prevent malaria.
While taking simple precautions is important, the most successful way to prevent infection is with malaria tablets. There currently isn't a vaccine available to prevent malaria; therefore prescription medication is the best option. Malaria tablets work by preventing the parasites' ability to reproduce, allowing your body to neutralise the infection.
All antimalarial drugs need to be started before you leave for your destination, and also need to be taken for a short period after you return. Malaria can sometimes take 10 - 15 days to cause symptoms after the infection. In rare cases, it can lie dormant for more than a year, although fortunately the most dangerous strain is not known to do this.
Which treatment you need will depend largely on where you are travelling. For lower risk areas such as India, a treatment of Paludrine & Avloclor is recommended. For higher risk areas, either Doxycycline or Malarone can be prescribed. Both of these treatments are considered to be effective against the most dangerous form of the virus.
Malaria has the potential to be very serious, as it is regarded as the most dangerous disease on the planet, therefore prophylactic treatment is important if you are travelling to an area where malaria is a risk. Beginning a course of medication before travelling can easily prevent malaria. The antimalarials we have available, which are approved by UK registered doctors, are Doxycycline, Paludrine/Avloclor and Malarone. These Malaria treatments are clinically proven to effectively prevent Malaria and can be ordered quickly and securely online by completing our free, simple online consultation. These treatments can also be shipped by free next-day delivery or same-day delivery to ensure that you receive your medication before beginning your travels.