Malaria is serious single cell parasitic disease in which if not treated properly it can progressively get worse with sometimes fatal consequences. The parasitic disease is transmitted by the female mosquito fly in which it resides in the salivary glands of the insect ready to be unleashed into an unexpecting human or animal. From here malaria grows rapidly inside the host’s liver masking itself inside red blood cells until it explodes releasing merozoites. This process can occur every every 48-72 hours. Although, this process can take 30 minutes, malaria can lie dormant in the liver for months or even years. It is eventually expelled back to the surface of the skin for the mosquito to collect the parasite and the cycle repeats.
There is over 3,500 species of mosquito worldwide but only 40 Anopheles are known to be significant carriers of malaria. For Malaria to be successful it needs to contain three prominent factors such as longevity, capacity and abundance (both humans and mosquitos). Mosquitos are most active at dusk or down, this is when contractions are more prominent.
Although, Malaria infects the host immediately, it takes on average up to 7 days to show symptoms which include:
- High temperature
- Muscle pains
The most dangerous variant of malaria is the Plasmodium Falciparum parasite and without proper treatment it can lead to both death and life-threating complications such as organ failure, breathing problems, learning disabilities and cerebral malaria. Without treatment in developing countries, cerebral malaria is almost always fatal. Even with treatment, children face 15-20% mortality rate and adults are lower at 11%.
In 2019, these complications from malaria killed 409,000 people with 229 million clinical episodes. It is believed that just under half of the world’s population (40%) is at risk of malaria with transmission occurring in 87 countries worldwide. Although half of the world is at risk of malaria, the majority of malaria nowadays is found in impoverished countries with a lack of medical intervention, poor infrastructure and favourable climate with one geographical continent in particular; Africa. The continent accounts for around 94% of malaria related deaths with an estimated of 392,640 people dying from the disease in 2019.
Analysing this further, we can see that 6 African countries accounted for approximately half of all malaria deaths worldwide:
- Nigeria (23%)
- The Democratic Republic of the Congo (11%)
- United Republic of Tanzania (5%)
- Burkina Faso (4%)
- Mozambique (4%)
- Niger (4%)
More than half of malaria deaths were under the age of 5:
(only accounting for the identifiable ages)
- Under 5 – 73.02%
- Over 70 – 10.04%
- 50-69 – 7.59%
- 5-14 – 5.88%
- 15-49 – 3.91%
It is averaged that every two minutes, a child in Africa dies from malaria. Most cases occur in sub-Saharan Africa where an estimated 24 million children were infected with cerebral malaria.
Comparing mortality rates of the top five deadliest diseases that plague African lives:
(Annual average death toll from 2016 onwards.)
Lower Respiratory Diseases – 4,000,000
Diarrheal deaths – 1,600,000
Tuberculosis – 1,400,000
HIV/AIDS – 690,000
Malaria – 409,000
Although, there was an estimated 229 million cases of malaria in 2019. This has decreased since 2000 at 238 million cases. Comparing mortality rates in 2010 at (1.2 million deaths) to 2019 (409,000 deaths) there is an considerable decrease of malaria related deaths worldwide.
Malaria Lifecycle & Symptoms
Infections and Death percentages