Causes of Malaria

Malaria is a parasitic disease that involves infection of the red blood cells. Malaria is transmitted to people by mosquitos. The scientific name of the particular type of mosquito is Anopheles. An infected Anopheles mosquito bites a person and injects the malaria parasites into the blood.

After a bite from an infected mosquito, the parasite enters the person’s bloodstream and travels to the liver where it grows and multiplies. During this time when the parasite is in the liver, there are no visible symptoms and the victim doesn’t feel sick.

The parasite may stay in the liver for a period as short as 8 days or as long as several months to years. After it leaves the liver, it enters red blood cells and continues to grow and multiply. The red blood cells burst, freeing the parasites to attack other red blood cells. It is during this time that symptoms of malaria may begin to surface.

Of the four types of malaria, the most serious type is falciparum malaria, which can be life-threatening. The other three types of malaria (vivax, malariae, and ovale) are generally less serious and are not life-threatening.

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