Malaria is a chronic disease caused by four species of plasmodia, namely Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovals and P. malarias. It is transmitted by several species of female mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. Malaria is considered one of the primary health problems by The World Health Organization.
Annually, 300-500 million cases are known to occur resulting in approximately 3 to 5 million deaths where mostly children are the victims.
Malaria is prevalent in the tropical and subtropical parts of the world, especially Africa, South and Central America, India and Southeast Asia. The P. falciparum has become resistant to the drug chloroquine, which is used to treat malaria. Hence there is a dire need to develop strategies and agents for controlling this due to the lack of a vaccine.
Visitors going to any part of India, both in rural areas and cities, except high mountainous areas, can contract malaria. The southern parts of India including Kerela, Tamil Nadu, Southern Andhra Pradesh, and Karnataka are malaria prone areas. Plasmodium vivax is the most common form of parasite prevalent in these areas though Plasmodium falciparum is also known to be prevalent.
Malaria eradication campaigns create awareness about this disease and families are advised to take preventive medicines to avoid contracting this deadly disease. It is advisable to start malaria prevention medicines before you travel and they need to be continued further for at least four weeks after leaving the malaria prone area.
It is also recommended to consult your doctor at least 3 weeks before you plan to travel malaria areas in Southern India so that you would have adequate time to consume these medicines before your travel.
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