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The latest data from the Department of Health (DOH) was from January to May of 2017. What’s promising is there seemed to be a downward trend when it comes to malaria suspect cases.
To further explain, the experts reported that from January 1 to May 6 of the year 217, there were only 501 suspect malaria cases. This figure is said to be 71% lower compared to the same period in 2016.
More than 80% of those suspect cases came from Region IV-B, particularly in Palawan, followed by 36 cases in Davao del Norte and 20 cases in Sultan Kudarat. The rest are scattered in various regions, with Metro Manila reporting only 2 cases.
Despite the decline in the number of cases, doctors still emphasize the importance of prevention and early intervention, especially in young kids.
As we wait for the DOH’s new Malaria Surveillance Report in the Philippines, let’s review the following facts about the condition’s cause, signs and symptoms, treatment, and prevention.
The first thing you need to know about malaria is that only one kind of mosquito can spread it to humans: the female Anopheles mosquito, which is essentially night-biting.
When an infected mosquito bites a person and contaminates their blood with a Plasmodium parasite, please note that they can also spread malaria through:
Congenital malaria is also possible; it happens when a mother transmits the parasite to her unborn child. Furthermore, should another female Anopheles mosquito bite an infected person, that mosquito can transmit the parasite to another person.
Depending on the type of Plasmodium parasite in your child’s body, the symptoms appear 7 to 30 days after being bitten. In fact, some types become dormant for a year!
Malaria symptoms only appear once the parasites mature. Keep in mind that malaria is a serious (and sometimes, fatal) infection that leads to symptoms like:
According to reports, with immediate medical care, almost everyone infected with malaria makes a full recovery. So, seek medical attention for your child right away if you observe the signs and symptoms we listed above.
In the clinic or hospital, the physician will order blood tests to check for the presence of Plasmodium parasites, their type, whether or not it’s resistant to certain medications, and if it’s resulting in serious complications.
Treatment for malaria in children depends on the following considerations:
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Many antimalarial medicines don’t have pediatric formulations, so the doctor often divides the adult dose.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Artemisinin-based combination therapies (ACTs) are well-tolerated by children under 5. ACTs combine two or more medicines to fight malaria parasites.
Other medications include chloroquine phosphate, primaquine phosphate, and quinine sulfate.
Here’s the good news: there are many ways to prevent malaria in children. Non-drug prevention strategies include:
If you plan to travel to malaria-prone areas in the Philippines, you can also talk to the doctor about taking preventive antimalarial drugs. You and your family should take these medicines before traveling and might need to continue taking them after your return.
Please note that malaria is not contagious, so you don’t need to “isolate” your child from their siblings. However, they might need to take time off from school to recuperate. Additionally, an infection doesn’t trigger immunity. Hence, a once-infected child can get infected again.
Learn more about Mosquito Bites in Children here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.