Malaria, What is it?
Malaria is a common but deadly infection in hot, tropical areas of the world. Malaria (although rarely) can also occur in temperate climates. Malaria is caused by a parasite known as Plasmodium, injected into your body (blood) by the bite of the female Anopheles mosquitoes.
Experts say Malaria is a disease of poverty — afflicting primarily the poor who tend to live in malaria-prone rural living places that offer very little or no barriers against mosquitoes.
It is very common in many areas in Africa, because of its wet, humid and hot climate. The dampness and warmth provide perfect breeding conditions for mosquitoes. These mosquitoes usually bite between dusk and dawn.
This is an illustration of a mosquito. It is a tiny insect.
The colours used here are only suggestive.
Worldwide, 300-500 million people are infected with malaria each year, with about 2 million people dying each year.
90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. It accounts for about 1 out of 5 childhood deaths. Malaria also contributes greatly to anaemia among children.
Malaria is both preventable and treatable, and effective preventive and curative tools have been developed. When properly treated, a patient with malaria can expect a complete recovery.
Is there a vaccine for Malaria?
For many decades, there has been intense research into finding a malaria vaccine, but there has not been any available commercially. One that is being used in the mean time is called RTS,S/AS01. Currently, there are about seven countries in Africa, including Ghana, Gabon, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Burkina Faso and Malawi who are participating in a clinical trial for the vaccine. Later this year (2014) the World Health Organisation (WHO) may recommend the use of the vaccine from 2015.
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