Overview of Malaria
A parasite can cause malaria, which is a fatal disease. A particular type of mosquito, i.e., Anopheles’ mosquito, is responsible for transmitting plasmodium malaria. The bite of an infected mosquito can transfer malaria to the human body. People who contract malaria are usually very sick with high fever and flu-like illness. Each year, around 210 million people suffer from this disease, and about 440,000 dies.
Moreover, there are reports of 2000 cases in the USA every year. Many cases come from immigrants and travelers who come from places where malaria is common. It is prevalent in tropical countries and mainly occurs in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Transmission of Malaria
Four types of malaria can affect humans, including plasmodium vivax, P. ovale, P. malaria, and plasmodium falciparum. P. falciparum can be fatal, and it can even lead to death. This parasite transmits to humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasite can become inactive if they enter the liver. But once the parasite matures, it can enter the bloodstream. In this stage, the symptoms start to show. The mosquito can become infected by biting an infected person, then spreading it to other humans. Mothers can also transfer malaria to infants, and it can also spread via blood infusions. Malaria is not an infectious disease like the flu, nor it transmits sexually (STD).
Symptoms and HCQ as Medication for Malaria
Several symptoms can indicate this disease in a person. It has general characteristics like fever, chills, headaches, nausea, and muscle pain. Some people experience malaria attacks, which occur in several stages. The first stage starts with shivering and chills, and the second stage consists of high fever and sweating. Then the fever returns to average room temperature. A doctor can diagnose malaria through physical examination by determining whether you have an enlarged spleen or liver. If malaria symptoms are present, your healthcare provider may advise blood tests to confirm the diagnosis. Malaria can be severe and may lead to cerebral malaria implications, i.e., swelling of the brain, causing seizures or coma. Organ failures, trouble in breathing, anemia, and low blood sugar levels are also effects of malaria complications.
HCQ as a Treatment for Malaria
There are currently no vaccines for the treatment of malaria. However, chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can treat malaria. They are FDA approved drugs that can prevent and treat certain types of malaria. HCQ comes as a tablet, and an individual takes it orally. If you are an adult, take this medication to prevent malaria. Doctors recommend taking one dose of HCQ once a week on the same day of each week. The treatment should begin 1-2 weeks before you travel to a country where malaria is common. You should continue it for the period you stay in the malaria-prone zone and for four weeks after returning.
Similarly, suppose you are an adult and taking HCQ for the treatment of malaria. In that case, there is a short 48-hour treatment course to treat acute malaria. You should take the first dose immediately and another dose after 6-8 hours. For the next two days, you should take additional doses. Moreover, the dosage is calculated based on their weights for treating and preventing malaria in children or infants. Doctor consultation is important to prescribe the right dosage for infants or children. Patients can take these tablets with a glass of milk to decrease nausea. Furthermore, HCQ is available by prescription only, and it is effective and safe at small doses for treating malaria. There are reports of some sporadic adverse events of frequent use of HCQ like retinopathy and QT prolongation.