Transmission of Malaria

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Malaria is caused by a parasite, which needs a vector in order to be passed onto a host. The vector is a mosquito that passed on the parasite when it bites a person and it enters the bloodstream of the host in the salvia of the mosquito. It is spread by the female anopheles mosquito and you are more likely to be bitten during the night, as the mosquito is the most active between dusk and dawn. The mosquito can infect you with the parasite and also become infected by the parasite if it bites a person with malaria and it can transfer it to another host.

Once you have been bitten, the parasite can enter the bloodstream. The parasite is in a form called a sporozoite and it quickly travels through the blood stream to the liver. It can then infect the liver cells within thirty minutes of infection and it will multiply within these cells. This will last for approximately five to seven days where the parasite becomes a merozoite. It will then burst these cells in order to be released where it will re-enter the blood stream and invade the red blood cells. Sometimes, the parasite can stay in the liver for months and it also depends on which parasite is in your body as to which red blood cells it affects. Once it has invaded the red blood cells, it will again multiply over a period of two days and once more cause the cell to burst and release high levels of the parasite into the blood. This causes a fever and can cause sweats and chills. This bursting happens every two days and causes these symptoms every time.

Sometimes, the parasite re-enters the red blood cell and remains inside it where it becomes a gametocyte. This is a reproductive form of the parasite and if a mosquito bites an infected person, it can take up these gametocytes contained within the red blood cell and so the parasite can go on to infect other hosts.

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