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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Anopheles mosquitoes the deadliest insect's in sub-Saharan Africa

There are about 430 Anopheles species of mosquitoes of which 30-40 transmit life-threatening malaria. Anopheles mosquitoes are the deadliest insect's in sub-Saharan Africa where it causes nearly a million deaths a year.

Malaria parasite by the National Institutes of Health
Malaria parasite by the National Institutes of Health
Malaria is caused by a one-celled parasite called Plasmodium and female Anopheles mosquitoes can only transmit malaria. The adult females can live up to 7-28 days in nature. Once a mosquito ingests the Plasmodium parasite it undergoes development and an incubation period from 10 to 21 days. The mosquito must have been infected through a previous blood meal from an infected person.  Female mosquitoes take blood in order to carry out egg production. When a mosquito bites an infected person, a small amount of blood is taken in which may contain malaria parasites. About one week later, when the mosquito takes its next blood meal, these parasites mix with the mosquito's saliva and are injected into the person being bitten. Malaria parasites multiply rapidly in the liver and then in red blood cells of the infected person.

Symptoms of malaria include fever and flu-like illness, including shaking chills, headache, muscle aches, and tiredness. Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea may also occur. Malaria may cause anemia and yellowing of the skin and eyes because of the loss of red blood cells. If not quickly treated, the infection can become severe and may cause kidney failure, seizures, mental confusion, coma and even death. There are four types of human malaria: Plasmodium vivax, P. malariae, P. ovale and P. falciparum. P. vivax and P. falciparum are the most common forms. Falciparum malaria is the most deadly type and the most common in sub-Saharan Africa, where it causes nearly a million deaths a year.

Malaria prevention
Malaria prevention
Target 6C on the UN Millennium Development Goals is to have halted by 2015 and begun to reverse the incidence of malaria and other major diseases. In the African country of Benin 64 percent of children slept under bed nets in 2010, up from 20 percent in 2006. The number of pregnant women sleeping under bed nets rose from 20 percent to 60 percent during the same period. In 2010 an estimated 219 million cases of malaria occurred worldwide and 660,000 people died, 91% lived in the African Region. In 2012 malaria conditions slightly improved, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria in 2012. Unfortunately, 90% of all malaria deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa and 77% occur in children under five. Malaria has been the number one reason for health center visits in Benin for the last decade. Severe malaria kills 1,500-2,000 Beninese children every year and causes anemia in most children. About 40% of malaria deaths occur in just two countries: Nigeria and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

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