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An infectious disease characterized by cycles of chills, fever, and sweating, caused by a protozoan of the genus Plasmodium in red blood cells, which is transmitted to humans by the bite of an infected female anopheles mosquito.
Persons most commonly affected: All persons and both sexes. Pregnant women and infants under the age of five are most vulnerable to malaria.
Organ or part of body involved: Blood Cells
Symptoms and indications: Fever, shivering, arthralgia (joint pain), vomiting, anemia, and convulsions. There may be the feeling of tingling in the skin, particularly with malaria caused by P. falciparum. Complications of malaria include coma and death if untreated --young children are especially vulnerable. Splenomegaly (enlarged spleen), intense headaches, cerebral ischemia and hemoglobinuria with renal failure may occur.
Causes and risk factors: Malaria is caused by protozoan of the genus Plasmodium. Infection begins with a bite from an infected mosquito. The parasite travels from the mosquito to your liver, where the parasite begins to reproduce. The parasite leaves the liver and travels to the bloodstream, where it infects red blood cells. The parasite reproduces in the red blood cells, which destroys the cells and releases more parasites into the bloodstream. If another mosquito bites an infected person, that mosquito can then carry the infection to someone else.
Prevention: You should do whatever you can to keep from getting mosquito bites. If you can, sleep in a room with screens on the windows and doors. Use a mosquito net over your bed. During the evening, wear light-colored clothes with long sleeves. Try not to go outside after the sun sets.