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Malaria can be fatal disease for human
beings. Approximately 300 million people around the world get infected with
malaria every year. More than 2 million people die every year due to malaria

Malaria is caused by a protozoan
parasite Plasmodium. This disease   spreads
through the bite of an insect vector- the female Anopheles mosquito
feeds upon plant juice.

The name Malaria was proposed by Macculoch
in 1827. C.L.A. Laveran in 1880, a French physician, discovered the
Malarial parasite -  Plasmodium  in the blood of a malaria patient.He received
Nobel prize for this discovery in 1907.


Main symptoms of malaria include
headache, nausea, muscular pain and high fever. Each malarial attack is of 6 to
10 hours duration and consists of the three stages:

1.    Cold stage,
feeling of extreme cold and shivers

2.    Hot stage, high
fever, faster respiration and heartbeat and

3.    Sweating stage, i.e., due to profuse sweating, temperature of
the body goes down to normal.

Even after
the patient is cured of malaria, the patient feel weak and becomes anemic. Malaria
may also secondarily cause enlargement of spleen and liver. Presence of
malarial parasite can be checked by blood test.


Malaria is
an infectious disease. It can spread from an infected person to a healthy
person (host) by the bite of female Anopheles mosquitoes (vectors). The only
way to prevent malaria is to take precaution against mosquito bites.

 We can protect ourselves from the bite of
mosquitoes by following methods:

1.    Wire- gauge should be used on doors and
windows of houses to prevent entry of mosquitoes.

2.    Insect- repellents (e.g., Odomos) should be
used to prevent mosquito- bite.

3.    One should sleep under mosquito nets.

4.    Mosquito larvae can be killed by sprinkling
kerosene oil on large- sized water bodies. Some larvivorous fishes such as
Gambusia, minnows or trouts or birds (e.g., ducks) can be introduced in water
bodies. These animals feed on mosquito larvae and hence the population of
mosquito is checked. This is called biological control of mosquito.

5.    Adult mosquitoes can be killed by spraying insecticides (e.g., BHC, malathion) on the walls of human dwellings. Insecticides
are chemical poisons (toxicants), hence, regulation of mosquito population by
them is called chemical control. The insecticide DDT is not used in the
chemical control of mosquitoes, as it persists in the environment for much
longer time and can cause toxicity by accumulating in the body of fishes, birds
and humans through food chain.

6.    The breeding grounds should be destroyed. Thus,
the ditches, puddles or swamps around human dwellings should be drained or
filled. We should not allow the collection of water in any uncovered containers
such as water tank, pot, cooler, flower pot, discarded tires, etc.

Ø Recently Allan Porter and his team
produced a genetically engineered aquatic bacteria at National
Institute of Singapore
. When mosquito larvae feed on these bacteria, they
get killed by the toxic substance produced by these bacteria. This can prove to
be an effective biological control method against malaria.


A drug named Quinine, which is
extracted from the bark of Cinchona tree, is used to treat a person suffering
from malaria. This drug kills most of the stages of malarial parasite. There are
certain other drugs (medicines) which should be taken on the advice of doctor. Scientists
are trying hard to develop an antimalarial vaccine.

Ø Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI),
Lucknow has developed an anti- cerebral malaria drug called – Arteether.
This drug is extracted from a herbaceous plant Artemisia annua belonging
to family Asteraceae.

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