Posted by: mkirschmd | February 8, 2009

Malaria – A Microscopic Terrorist

esriarcgisadfwebmimeimage1Malaria infects about 250 million people annually including 1 million fatalities.  Consider for a moment the magnitude of these astronomical numbers.  For perspective, the entire population of the United States is about 300 million people.  International travelers are at risk of contracting this disease.  Malaria lurks in parts of Asia, Africa, Mexico and South America.   There is no vaccine against malaria.  Fortunately, prudent and prepared travelers can dramatically reduce their risk.  Find out more important information on malaria.

 

Here’s the malaria life cycle story in 3 sentences.  First, a female mosquito takes a blood meal from an infected person and sucks in some malaria that comes along for the ride.  Once inside the mosquito, the malaria parasite undergoes a complex process and ultimately migrates to the insect’s salivary glands.  The next unlucky human victim that this mosquito punctures is at risk of receiving an injection of the malaria parasite.  Soon afterwards, the fun and fevers begin.

 

Travelers who will be in malaria endemic regions will be advised before their trip to take prophylactic medications to prevent the disease.  It is absolutely critical to take these medications for the full recommended time course. There have been many travelers who have made a regrettable decision to stop their medication prematurely after their trip believing that their risk had passed. They won’t make this mistake twice.  Malaria is not a souvenir that you want to bring home.  Take your medicine!

 

Find out more information on keeping malaria off your travel itinerary.

 

Next posting:  Why malaria drugs don’t always work?

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