Anopheles Mosquito. Image credit

ZIMSEC O Level Geography Notes:Common Killer Diseases in the Tropics: Malaria

  • Malaria is one of the most widespread diseases in Tropical Africa.
  • It is caused by a parasite called plasmodium,
  • which is transmitted by the female anopheles mosquito.
  • When a female anopheles mosquito bites a patient, it draws up some blood containing the parasite.
  • The malarial parasites pass through several developmental stages within the body of the mosquito before
  • finding their way to the mosquito’s salivary glands.
  • The parasite enters the bloodstream of the next victim the mosquito bites.
  • The parasite then enters the red blood cells of the victim.
  • They will grow and multiply until they replace all the haemoglobin in the red cells.
  • As the cell breaks up it releases the parasites to attack more cells.
  • Symptoms of malaria include; fever, weakness in the joints, headache, chills and sweating, accompanied by drowsiness and confusion.
  • Malaria can be treated with malaria drugs such as chloroquine and fancida.
  • The disease can be prevented through the use of anti-mosquito coils, creams, soaps and anti-malaria drugs.
  • The most effective way is to disrupt the mosquito’s life cycle.
  • This can be done by covering breeding areas of the mosquito such as pits, draining marshed and swamps.
  • The pouring of oil or paraffin on stagnant water can also disrupt the cycle.
  • Certain type of fish can also be introduced to feed on the mosquito larvae.

To access more topics go to the O Level Geography Notes page