Public Awareness on Malaria
What is malaria? What are the types of malaria parasites found in Nagaland
- Malaria is a disease associated with fever which is transmitted by the bite of infected female anopheles mosquitoes
- There are two types of malaria parasites found in Nagaland: Plasmodium vivax and Plasmodium falciparum. Falciparum malaria is the more serious of the two.
What are the common signs and symptoms of malaria?
- 9-14 days after a bite by infected mosquito, the patient may develop the following signs and symptoms:
1. Fever with chills and rigor, sweating followed by intermittent relief of fever
2. Headache, vomiting, and other flu-like symptoms
3. Anemia in severe cases, fits/convulsion and loss of consciousness
4. Parasite may go to the brain which causes cerebral malaria
5. Malaria in pregnancy could risk the life of mother and child
6. If not treated early and adequately, the person may die due to malaria.
How is malaria spread?
- When a female anopheles mosquito bites a person who is already suffering from malaria, the parasite is picked up along with the blood.
- The parasite matures inside the mosquito and when it bites other person in the community, malaria is spread.
Where does the Anopheles mosquito breed?
- Anopheles mosquitoes breed in wide varieties of clean stagnant water bodies such as over-head tanks, ponds, ditches, open water storage containers, flower vases, discarded tyres, irrigation channels, rice fields, slow moving streams, animal hoof marks, wheel tracks, water coolers, unused utensils and pots, etc.
What do you do when malaria is suspected?
- All health centres are covered with health workers such as Surveillance Workers/Multi-Purpose Workers, ASHAs who are trained and provided with Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) kits and medicines for on-the-spot testing and treatment if found positive. Health Units with laboratory are equipped with facility for blood slide examination and treatment.
- Test all fever cases for malaria. There are two kinds of tests for malaria:
- Slide Test: Blood smear in a glass slide is examined by a technician under a microscope. This method can detect both vivax and falciparum malaria.
- Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT): A drop of blood is put on a test strip and result can be seen within 15 minutes. RDT at present is only for testing of falciparum malaria.
- Chloroquine for 3 days and primaquine for 14 days is the treatment of choice for Plasmodium vivax malaria
- Artesunate Combination Therapy (ACT) for 3 days is the treatment of choice for falciparum malaria.
- Ensure that the treatment is completed. Incomplete treatment will result in relapse (P. vivax) or resistance to medicines.
- For pregnant mothers and children below 1 year, Primaquine should not be given. Contact nearest health center.
- Diagnostic tests and all medicines for malaria are available for free.
How can you prevent malaria?
- Prevent mosquito breeding near your houses: Remove all water stagnant bodies. Cover the water storage containers, put kerosene in coolers/containers or empty them once a week.
- Prevent mosquitoes from biting: Always sleep under mosquito net, preferably under insecticide-treated nets (e.g. LLIN). Ensure that at least pregnant women and children sleep under mosquito nets. Wear long sleeve clothes, and use mosquito repellents. Put wire mesh in doors and windows. Avoid sleeping outdoors without protection.
- Accept Indoor Residual Spray (IRS). DDT spray indoor is a safe and effective method for mosquito control. Spraying outdoor is ineffective (e.g. washed away by rain) and counter-productive (chases mosquitoes inside the house).
- Put larvivorous fishes in water bodies which cannot be drained. Such fishes feed on mosquito larvae and reduce mosquito population.
- Promptly test all fever cases for malaria. Ensure that appropriate and complete treatment is given.
- Spread awareness on malaria prevention measures, diagnosis and treatment.