- Malaria is a life-threatening disease caused by Plasmodium parasites.
- There are 5 parasite species that cause malaria in humans, and 2 of these species – P. falciparum and P. vivax – pose the greatest threat.
- The parasites are spread to people through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes.
- Children aged under 5 years are the most vulnerable group affected by malaria.
- Symptoms: Fever, tiredness, vomiting, headaches, seizures, chills, etc.
- Diagnosis: Examination of blood films or by antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests (RDT).
- Prevention: Vector control is the main way to prevent and reduce malaria transmission. Two forms of vector control – insecticide-treated mosquito nets and indoor residual spraying – are effective in a wide range of circumstances.
- Treatment: Antimalarial medications depending on the type of malaria.
- Vaccine: RTS,S/AS01 (RTS,S) (trade name Mosquirix) is the world’s first malaria vaccine shown to provide partial protection against malaria in young children. The vaccine is being provided to young children through national immunization programs in parts of three sub-Saharan African countries as part of a pilot introduction that began in 2019.
Why in the news?
- Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan said that the country has witnessed 84 per cent reduction in malaria cases in 2020 as compared to 2015. Over 83 per cent reduction in deaths has also been reported in 2020.
- Every year, 25th April is observed as World Malaria Day. This year’s theme for the day is Reaching the Zero Malaria target.