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Malaria: Types, Diagnosis & Preventions

The information you are going to get from this Article are:
1. Introduction of Malaria.
2. Lifecycle of Malaria.
3. Why do Male Mosquitoes never bite?
4. Difference between Malaria and Dengue.
5. Type of Malaria.
6. How to diagnose Malaria?
7. Preventions from Malaria.


The Italian word “Malaria” means “bad air”. It is a life-threatening disease that is caused by a single-cell parasite (parasitism is the relationship between species, where one organism gets the benefit and the other gets harmed) called Plasmodium. The parasite is transformed into a healthy person by the bite of the infected female mosquito called Anopheles.

Life Cycle

The malarial parasite has two hosts, mosquito and human. When a healthy female mosquito (only female mosquito bites because she needs blood for egg production) bites a person infected with malaria, The mosquito becomes infected with malaria because it ingests the male and female gametocytes of the parasite. These gametocytes fuse and form the zygote. The zygote then develops into the Oocyst. The formation and development of the zygote occur in the gut of the mosquito. The Oocyst then travels to the slavery gland of the mosquito. Here the mature forms of the parasite called sporozoites are released by the Oocyst in the slavery gland. When the infected female mosquito has a parasite in its saliva, it reaches a healthy person for a meal. Then it bites and secrets its saliva into the blood for avoiding blood clotting. The sporozoites after entering the human body attack the liver and start reproducing asexually in the liver cells. After growing in number they rupture the liver cells and move into the blood in the form of merozoites. These merozoites attack the red blood cells, enter the cell body, and develop into a form called trophozoites. Many trophozoites begin asexual reproduction inside the blood cell and give rise to new merozoites. After increasing in number the merozoites rupture the blood cell and continue attacking other blood cells and increasing in number. Some trophozoites start sexual reproduction and give rise to male and female gametocytes. Due to this when a healthy mosquito bites the same person with parasites. The male and female gametocytes move into the mosquito’s body ending up infecting the mosquito.

Can Male Mosquitos spread Malaria?

No, male mosquitos can’t spread malaria because they can’t bite. They lack a specific mouthpart that is essential for biting. The male mosquitoes survived by feeding on the nectars (sugar-rich products) of the flowers. On the other hand, the females bite because mosquitoes need blood for the development of their eggs.

Difference between Malaria and Dengue

Malaria is a parasitic disease caused by plasmodium, and Dengue on the other hand is a viral disease caused by the dengue virus. Both of these diseases are spread by different species of mosquitoes. Malaria is caused by a mosquito called Anopheles, but Dengue is caused by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. Malaria attacks the liver and blood cells, on the other hand, dengue can affect the number of platelets in the body. Both of these diseases also differ in symptoms. The symptoms of malaria include fever, cough, chills nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, etc. The signs of dengue are fever, rashes, pain especially behind the eyes, muscle pain, etc.


1. Plasmodium Falciparum

It is the most severe form of malaria that can also cause death. It can recur in almost 48 hours. It causes Malignant (deadly) tertian malaria and rarely causes nephrotic syndrome (kidney disorder). It is especially found in Africa. It can invade all ages of red blood cells. The falciparum gametocytes are crescent or banana-shaped. Other complications caused by this disease are anemia, cerebral malaria, respiratory distress syndrome, etc. Treatments for this condition are Doxycycline or clindamycin, artemether plus lumefantrine, etc. Before taking any medications, must consult your doctor.

2. Plasmodium Vivax

The most widespread form of malaria is Vivax Malaria. It is less harmful than P. falciparum. Vivax attacks reticulocytes (slightly immature red blood cells). Vivax gametocytes are round or oval. Treatments for Vivax Malaria are chloroquine, mefloquine, etc. Don’t take medicines without the prescription of the doctor.

3. Plasmodium Knowlesi

Just like other types, it is a malaria-causing parasite found in South Asia. It is a Zoonotic (a disease that transfers from animals to humans) malaria because it causes infection in macaques (old world monkeys). This parasite most commonly infects Malaysian people.
Treatments for this disease are artemisinin combination therapy and chloroquine. Must ask your doctor before taking any medicines.


For the identification of malaria, the doctor may conduct a physical examination and blood test. The blood of the patient is stained (frequently with Giemsa stain) and examined under a microscope to confirm the presence of malaria and its type.


For preventing the bites of mosquitoes use mosquito repellents on the exposed areas of the skin, wear long pants and full sleeves, screen the windows, and use a bed net before sleeping. You can also take pills and tablets for protection but only after the suggestion of the doctor.

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