As a student of Public Health At Cavendish University Uganda I want to take this Chance to elaborate about Malaria In Uganda.
What is malaria?
Malaria is a serious, sometimes fatal, disease spread by mosquitoes and caused by a parasite. Malaria is a significant health risk in Uganda even if multiple programs Fighting Malaria are put in Place it is still a very serious Disease. The illness presents with flu-like symptoms that include high fever and chills.

There are three necessary aspects to the malaria life cycle:

1.The Anopheles mosquito carries the parasite and is where the parasite starts its life cycle.
2.The parasite (Plasmodium) has multiple subspecies, each causing a different severity of symptoms and responding to different treatments.
3.The parasite first travels to a human’s liver to grow and multiply. It then travels in the bloodstream and infects and destroys red blood cells.

Is malaria contagious?
Malaria is not spread from person to person (except in pregnancy as noted below) but can be spread in certain circumstances without a mosquito. This occurs rarely and is usually found in a transmission from the mother to the unborn child (congenital malaria), by blood transfusions, or when intravenous-drug users share needles. Except for the above conditions, malaria is not considered to be contagious person to person.

What is the incubation period for malaria?
Following the mosquito bite, there is about a seven- to 30-day period before symptoms appear (incubation period).
P. falciparum usually has a short incubation period (10-14 days). Other species of Plasmodium that cause malaria have incubation periods similar to P. vivax.

What causes malaria? What are the types of malaria?
Parasites of the genus Plasmodium cause malaria. Although there are many species of Plasmodium, only five infect humans and cause malaria.

P. falciparum: found in tropical and subtropical areas;For example like Uganda, major contributor to deaths from severe malaria

P. vivax: found in Asia and Latin America; has a dormant stage that can cause relapses

P. ovale: found in Africa and the Pacific islands

P. malariae: worldwide; can cause a chronic infection

P. knowlesi: found throughout Southeast Asia; can rapidly progress from an uncomplicated case to a severe malaria infection.

What are malaria symptoms and signs?

Malaria has a wide spectrum of symptoms. After the bite by the infected mosquito occurs, it can take between seven and 30 days (average is seven to 15 days) before symptoms start (incubation period).

Malaria is classified as uncomplicated or complicated (severe).

*Uncomplicated malaria
The most common symptoms are

1.fever and chills,
2.headaches,
3.nausea and vomiting, and
4.general weakness and body aches.
The classic description of a malaria attack (which is rarely observed), would be a six- to 12-hour period of cold and shivering alternating with fever and headaches and then a stage of sweating and tiredness (sometimes divided into the cold and hot stage).

As these symptoms are very nonspecific, it is important to evaluate if the patient has risk factors for malaria (usual travel in endemic areas).

*Complicated or severe malaria
This occurs when different body systems are affected by malaria.

1.Severe anemia (due to destruction of red blood cells)
2.Kidney failure
3.Cerebral malaria — seizures, unconsciousness, abnormal behavior, or confusion
4.Cardiovascular collapse
5.Low blood sugar (in pregnant women after treatment with quinine)

What specialists treat malaria?
Malaria can be treated by your primary care doctor (pediatrician, family medicine, internal medicine), as well as by infectious-disease specialists.

What is the treatment for malaria?
Besides supportive care, the medical team needs to decide on the appropriate antibiotics to treat malaria. The choice will depend on several factors, including

1.the specific species of parasite identified,
2.the severity of symptoms, and
determination of drug resistance based on the geographic area where the patient traveled.
3.Physicians will administer the medication in pill form or as an intravenous antibiotic depending on above factors.
The most commonly used medications are.
1.chloroquine
2.quinine
3.mefloquine

Can malaria reoccur after treatment?
P. vivax and P. ovale can hibernate in the liver and cause relapsing disease weeks or months after the patient is symptom free.

What is the prognosis of malaria?
If diagnosed early and if the appropriate antibiotics are available and used, the prognosis of malaria is very good.
In Uganda,Malaria remains the second killer disease among children under five, claiming 25 children daily and 1,000 annually according to the Uganda Demographic Health Survey.

Is there a malaria vaccine?
There is currently no commercial vaccine available to prevent malaria. Due to the diversity of the Plasmodium species and the P. falciparum species being the most deadly parasite, most efforts are currently directed toward a P. falciparum vaccine. RTS,S/ASO1 is the most advanced candidate as a viable vaccine.
The WHO is supporting the pilot implementation in several sub-Saharan countries like Uganda.

How can people prevent malaria?
No medication is 100% effective, and therefore the prevention of mosquito bites is of paramount importance. These preventive measures should include the following:

1.Sleeping under bed nets: These should cover all of the bed down to the floor. These nets are most effective if they are treated with an insecticide.
2.Clothing: Clothing that covers most of the exposed skin and shoes that are closed can reduce the risk of bites. All clothing should be tucked in, and pants should be tucked into socks to avoid exposure around the ankles. In addition, treating clothes with insecticides can prevent bites even further.
3.Apply insect repellent to all exposed skin.
4.Slash Your Home Area for people who live near bushes especially in Rural Areas.
5.Drain Stagnant water around your home area every after washing clothes or Kitchen Utensils.
Then if all this is in place, we’re going to chase Malaria in Uganda.

 

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