Malaria – UPSC Prelims

  • Malaria is a vector borne disease caused by parasitic protozoans belonging to the Plasmodium type.
  • It is most commonly transmitted by an infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • According to the World Malaria Report 2020, India has contributed to the largest absolute reductions in the WHO South-East Asia Region from about 20 million cases in 2000 to about 5.6 million in 2019.
  • In India, malaria is caused by the parasites Plasmodium falciparum (Pf), found more in the forest areas and Plasmodium Vivax (Pv), more common in the plains.
  • Most malaria cases are mainly concentrated in tribal and remote areas of the country.
  • The majority of malaria reporting districts are in India’s eastern and central parts.
Life Cycle of Plasmodium:
  • Plasmodium enters the human body as sporozoites (infectious form) through the bite of infected female Anopheles mosquito.
  • The parasites initially multiply within the liver cells and then attack the Red Blood Cells (RBCs) resulting in their rupture.
  • The rupture of RBCs is associated with release of a toxic substance, haemozoin, which is responsible for the chill and high fever recurring every three to four days.
  • When a female Anopheles mosquito bites an infected person, these parasites enter the mosquito’s body and undergo further development.
  • The parasites multiply within them to form sporozoites that are stored in their salivary glands. When these mosquitoes bite a human, the sporozoites are introduced into his/ her body, thereby initiating the events mentioned above.
  • Malarial parasite requires two hosts – human and mosquitoes – to complete its life cycle.

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