Malaria

What it is and it's effect on Africa

What it is

Malaria is caused by a parasite that is passed from one human to another by the bite of infected mosquitoes. After infection, the parasites travel through one's bloodstream to the liver, where they grow and release another form of parasite, the merozoites. The parasites enter the bloodstream and infect red blood cells. Remember, it's not a virus, it's not a bacteria. It's a real animal. It's single-celled.


What it does

The parasites multiply inside the red blood cells, which then break open within 48 to 72 hours, releasing Hemoglobin, which is the O2 carrying chemical, infecting more red blood cells. The first symptoms usually occur 10 days to 4 weeks after infection, though they can appear as early as 8 days or as long as a year after infection. The symptoms occur in cycles of 48 to 72 hours. Symptoms:

  1. Chills
  2. Fever
  3. Headache
  4. Nausea
  5. Vomiting
If patients are diagnosed early, a cure is possible because one of several medicines that kill the malaria parasite, Plasmodium, can be prescribed.

Its effect on Africa

Malaria accounts for about one in five of all childhood deaths in africa. It kills a child somewhere in the world every 30 seconds. The economic impact of malaria has been estimated to cost Africa $12 billion every year.

Costs to individuals and their families include buying drugs for treating malaria at home; expenses for travel to dispensaries and clinics; lost days of work; absence from school; expenses for preventive measures; expenses for burial