The word malaria comes from 18th century Italian mala meaning "bad" and aria meaning "air". Most likely, the term was first used by Dr. Francisco Torti, Italy, when people thought the disease was caused by foul air in marshy areas. It was not until 1880 scientists discovered that malaria was a parasitic disease which is transmitted by the Anopheles mosquito. Malaria is a common infection in hot, tropical areas. It is the deadliest parasitic disease in the word. From about 300 to 500 million case of each year, nearly 2 million people die.
Malaria begins in the gut of the mosquitoes. When an infected mosquito bites a host, the parasite travel from the insect’s saliva into the host’s bloodstream, the parasites reproduce in the host’s blood and the internal organs. Once malaria parasites enter the bloodstream, they travel to the liver and multiply. Every few days, thousands of parasites are released from the liver into the blood, where they destroy red blood cells. The incubation period for malaria is the time between the mosquito bite and the release of parasites from the liver. This varies, depending on which malaria parasite is causing the disease. In general, it can range from 10 days to a month. With treatment, malaria can usually be cured in about 2 weeks. Without treatment, it can be fatal, especially in children who are poorly nourished. Malaria parasites can also be transmitted by transfusion of blood from an infected person or by the use of needles or syringes contaminated with the blood of an infected person.
When a person becomes infected with Plasmodium (the parasite that causes malaria), it begins to multiply within the body. Typically, after 10 to 30 days, malaria symptoms can begin. The period between infection and the start of symptoms is called the malaria incubation period. This period can be as short as seven days or as long as several years.
Infection with malaria parasites may result in a wide variety of symptoms,...