Public Awareness on Malaria
What is Malaria?
Malaria is a disease characterized by fever which is caused by the bite of female anopheles mosquito. In Nagaland, two types of malaria are found: malaria caused by Plasmodium vivax and malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum. Falciparum malaria is the more severe of the two.
What are the signs and symptoms of Malaria?
• Fever with chills and rigor
• Associated with headache and vomiting
• Sweating after each episode of fever
• Feeling of weakness and tiredness
• Danger signs of severe malaria are: High fever with change in behavior, consciousness, drowsiness, inability to sit or walk; repeated vomiting; passage of small quantity urine/no urine/black urine; severe diarrhea and dehydration; unexplained heavy bleeding from nose, gums, or other sites.
How is Malaria Spread?
• When an infected female anopheles mosquito bites a healthy human being, the parasite spreads in the body of the individual and the person gets sick after a few days.
• When a mosquito bites such a malaria patient, the parasite enters the mosquito with the blood meal and multiplies there.
Where does the malaria transmitting mosquito breed?
• Mosquito breeds in stagnant water. The female mosquito lays eggs on the surface of water. After a few days, larva emerges from the eggs which grow into adult mosquitoes.
• Mosquito breeding places in the cities are: Overhead open water tanks, broken utensils, discarded tyres, utensils without covers, construction sites, clogged drains, potholes, etc.
• Mosquito breeding sites in the villages are: Paddy fields, ponds covered with grass/swamp, unused wells, wheel tracks, animal hoof marks, peri-domestic water collections.
How do we care for patients who are suspected to be suffering from Malaria?
• First and most important is to do a blood test to diagnose malaria. Testing facilities are widely and freely available all over Nagaland. Rapid test kits are available which can detect falciparum malaria on the spot.
• If malaria is confirmed, early and complete treatment is essential. Medicines for both types of malaria are made available for free.
How can we control malaria?
• Remove breeding site (stagnant water bodies) of mosquitoes as stated above
• Fit wire-netting (screening) of doors and windows of houses
• Use mosquito nets. Insecticide treated bed nets are available which not only act as physical barriers, but also reduce mosquito population.
• Use mosquito repellent cream or coil/liquidator
• Wear long sleeve clothes when going outdoors in mosquito infested areas
• Rear larvivorous fishes (which eats up mosquito larva) in stagnant water bodies
• Sread awareness on control of vector and to seek early medical care.
National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme
Directorate of Health and Family Welfare
(Issued in public interest)