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Malaria

Malaria is a mosquito borne parasitic disease. Malarial parasites belong to a genus known as Plasmodium. Malaria can also be transmitted through blood transfusion. Among the Southeast Asian countries, India contributes 77% of the malaria cases. In India, there are around 2 million new malaria cases are reported every year and around 1000 deaths are reported annually. Malaria is most common in countries with tropical and subtropical climates.

Signs and symptoms

Usually, it takes around one week to 30 days for the symptoms to appear after infection. The following are the common signs and symptoms associated with malaria:

  1. Fever
  2. Moderate to severe chills
  3. Headache
  4. Profuse sweating
  5. Nausea
  6. Vomiting
  7. Fatigue
  8. Muscle pain
  9. Dry cough

The signs of severe or complicated malaria include:

  1. Unconsciousness
  2. Seizures
  3. Severe anemia
  4. Cardiovascular collapse
  5. Renal failure

Diagnosis of Malaria

Delaying the diagnosis of malaria can cause serious complications. The following tests can help to diagnose malaria:

Microscopic examination

Blood smear study

Blood smear examination is the “gold standard” test for the detection and identification of malarial parasite. During this test, a drop of blood is collected and is spread onto a glass slide. The blood sample is now treated with Giemsa stain and the red blood cells are studied under the microscope.

 

Quantitative buffy coat test

In this procedure, the red blood cells from the blood sample is collected through the process of centrifugation and are studied under a microscope.

Rapid diagnostic tests

This test helps in detecting the presence of malaria antigens in a blood sample. A testing strip which has malarial antibody is used in this test. A drop of blood is placed in the testing strip and the change in the color in the strip indicates a positive result. This change of color is brought about by antigen- antibody reaction. However, this test may not be useful to detect the specific type of Plasmodium which has caused the infection.

Molecular technique (PCR)

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay is a laboratory process in which the gene of the causative organism is extracted and amplified. It is used for confirmative diagnosis and to identify the Plasmodium species which has caused malaria.

Antibody detection tests such as immunofluorescence and Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) can also help in the diagnosis of malaria by detecting the antibodies against malarial parasites present in the blood.

Other tests: Liver and kidney function tests can help to find out whether the infection has affected liver and kidney function. A complete blood picture can help to determine if the patient has developed anemia.

How to treat malaria?

Home measures

The following are the home remedies to relieve the symptoms of malaria:

  • Cold wrap: Dip a cotton cloth and wrap it on the forehead and wipe gently over the entire body. This helps in controlling the fever associated with malaria.
  • Basil leaves: Basil leaves is an effective home remedy to reduce the symptoms of malaria.
  • Orange juice: Orange juice strengthens the immune system and keeps the body hydrated.
  • Ginger: Ginger is known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties.
  • Grapefruit: Consuming grapefruit on daily basis is highly beneficial for treating malaria.

Medical intervention

Your doctor would recommend certain over-the-counter medications to treat the symptoms of malaria. The antibiotic treatment for malaria depends upon the species of malaria, the severity of the symptoms, and your age.

Pregnant woman with malaria require a careful assessment and treatment as malarial infection can result in complications such as premature birth and miscarriage.

Why choose Apollo Diagnostics?

We have the expertise of 34 + years in healthcare. Our labs are equipped with EQUAS (External Quality Assurance System) and loaded with full automated machines to ensure error free reports, with a quick turnaround time, and at an affordable price. For your convenience, we offer free home collection of samples.

For appointments, please call 4444 2424.

References

  1. Burden of Malaria in India. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1720/. Accessed on 13-10-2017
  2. Malaria, laboratory diagnosis. http://www.malwest.gr/en-us/malaria/informationforhealthcareprofessionals/laboratorydiagnosis.aspx. Accessed on 16-10-2017
  3. Malaria, laboratory tests. https://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/malaria/start/3 . Accessed on 16-10-2017
  4. Malaria (Treatment). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/malaria/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20351190 . Accessed on 16-10-2017
  5. What is the treatment and medication for malaria? https://www.emedicinehealth.com/malaria/page5_em.htm . Accessed on 16-10-2017


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