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Malaria

Last update: 2022-06-07

Key facts

Transmission

  • Mosquito bite
  • Mosquitoes that spread malaria usually bite at night, between sunset and sunrise

Symptoms

  • Starts with several days of fever, sometimes with nausea, vomiting and headache, back pain, chills/shaking and muscle pain.
  • In very severe cases, the patient weakens, becomes unconscious, and suffers from severe lack of iron in the blood (anaemia), and lung and kidney failure.

Prevention

  • Sleep under an insecticide-treated bed net at night
  • Use insecticide-treated curtains
  • Apply indoor residual spraying (IRS)
  • Give infants and pregnant women intermittent prevention therapy (IPT)
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by vector control (removing scrub around communities, spraying, etc.)
  • Social mobilization and behaviour change communication
  • Use of antimalarial medicines (chemoprophylaxis)

Vulnerable people

  • Children under five years and pregnant women are more vulnerable to severe illness
  • People living with HIV
  • Displaced populations, migrants and travellers that have not been exposed to malaria before

If an epidemic occurs

  • Rapidly detect and refer suspected cases to health facilities for treatment Early treatment is important especially for children
  • Increase community-based surveillance
  • Promote use of antimalarial medicines
  • Encourage people to sleep at night under an insecticide-treated bed net
  • Promote indoor residual spraying (IRS)
  • Promote use of insecticide-treated curtains
  • Eliminate mosquito breeding sites by vector control (removing scrub around communities, spraying, etc.)

Community-based assessment - questions

Make a map of the community and mark the information you gather on the map. Record other details.

  • When did people start to fall sick with malaria?
  • How many people have fallen sick with malaria? Where?
  • How many people have died? Where?
  • How many people live in the affected community or area? How many children under five years of age live in the area? How many pregnant women live in the area?
  • How many people are receiving antimalarial medicines?
  • Who and where are the vulnerable people? Who is most affected?
  • How many children and pregnant women sleep under a bed net at night? Are nets hung up and maintained properly? If people are not using nets, why not?
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs regarding indoor spraying?
  • How does the community usually remove standing, stagnant water?
  • Have the authorities established a vector control programme?
  • Where are the local health facilities and services? (Include traditional or community carers.)
  • What are the community’s habits, practices and beliefs about caring for and feeding sick people? When babies and infants are sick, do women continue to breastfeed them?
  • Is a social mobilization or health promotion programme in place?
  • Which sources of information do people use most?
  • Are rumours or is misinformation about malaria spreading in the community?