Malaria in Children
There is usually a gap of about 5-6 days following mosquito bite and appearance of symptoms.health and fitness Updated: Aug 04, 2003 17:42 IST
For decades, Malaria has been a scourge in many parts of the world including India. The disease that is transmitted by the bite of mosquito has reappeared after lying dormant for a while.
The parasite Plasmodium, responsible for causing malaria, exists in four species of mosquitoes. Of the four, two species, Vivax and Falciparum are found in India. The Anopheles mosquito is responsible for spreading malaria.
It is notable that Dr. Ronald Ross who identified the link between Anopheles and Malaria worked in the Madras Medical College in Madras. The parasite's lifecycle is in two parts, one part of the lifecycle is in man and another part is within the mosquito.
There is usually a gap of about five to six days following the mosquito bite before the patient develops the symptoms of Malaria. The malarial parasite infects the red blood cells and causes them to rupture. Surprisingly, the process occurs at regular intervals of every two days or so corresponding to the destruction caused by the parasite.
Traditionally, patients with Malaria were treated with Chloroquine but now as the organism has developed resistance to Chloroquine, Quinine Sulphate or Mefloquine are used. The WHO has announced that the Chinese drug Qinghaozu is useful in treating Malaria.
Alternate day high-grade fever, severe chills or rigors and severe headache are the symptoms of Malaria. In children, the headache is more pronounced than the chills and some children may also have diarrhoea. Profuse sweating and enlargement of the spleen are other symptoms of Malaria.
Newborn children can also be affected by Malaria. This disease can even spread from the mother to the child via the placenta.
While eradication of mosquitoes is the best way to prevent Malaria, the most practical solution is to protect ourselves from the mosquitoes by using nets, mats, coils etc.
As a precautionary measure, healthy children who live areas prone to mosquitoes can be given chloroquine tablets once a week. This is quite safe, but chloroquine does have a few side effects like vomiting.