The term ‘Malaria’ derives its roots from Italian ‘mal’aria’ which means “bad air”. It is a fatal disease transmitted through the Anopheles mosquito. It carries the Plasmodium parasite that enters the bloodstream through a bite and then travels to the liver to mature and multiply.
The victim usually starts seeing the symptoms within 7-30 days of the bite. Although more than a hundred types of Plasmodium parasites exist, there are primarily 5 types that infect humans, namely
- P. malariae: Found all over the world, usually leads to chronic infection.
- P. vivax: Common in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Its symptoms sometimes take as long as a year to appear.
- P. ovale: Mostly found in Africa.
- P. knowlesi: Found in Southeast Asia, multiplies rapidly in blood causing fatal impact, in a lot of cases.
- P. falciparum: It is the most lethal type of Plasmodium parasite causing malaria, found mostly in tropical areas. It is also capable of causing cerebral malaria and accounts for most number of deaths.