World Malaria Day 2019: Here are the first 3 symptoms of this deadly disease and how to combat it

Every year, countries observe World Malaria Day on April 25th. 

Malaria is a deadly disease

It is a day set aside to raise awareness and recognize global efforts to prevent this life-threatening disease.

This year, the theme is "Zero malaria starts with me." According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), "urgent action is needed to get the global response to malaria back on track - and ownership of the challenge lies in the hands of countries most affected by malaria."

On the occasion of World Malaria Day, Business Insider SSA by Pulse take a look at the first three symptoms of malaria and how to combat it.

Symptoms

According to WHO, the first signs of this deadly disease are

  • fever,
  • headaches, and
  • chills.

These usually appear during the first 10–15 days after you have been bitten by an infective mosquito.

Other common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, fatigue and cough. You are advised to go for diagnosis as soon as you exhibit signs of malaria.

Left untreated, these signs can progress to severe anaemia (lack of adequate healthy red blood cells), respiratory distress, multi-organ failure or even cerebral malaria.

How to fight malaria

The current ways to combat this disease include:

  • Going for a diagnosis
  • Using antimalarial medication. This can be used to both treat and prevent malaria. 
  • Sleeping in insecticide-treated nets.
  • Using insect repellents.

The latest tool for combating this disease is the world's first malaria vaccine. It is currently being used in Malawi.

Who is most likely to contract malaria?

Infants, children under 5 years of age, pregnant women and patients with HIV/AIDS, migrants, and travellers are all at a considerably higher risk of contracting malaria.

However, the risk is not limited to just them. 2017 statistics from WHO show that nearly half of the world's population is at risk. There have been 219 million malaria cases and 435 000 malaria deaths worldwide.

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