Rapid tests for malaria

About malaria

Malaria is a tropical disease that is transmitted by Anopheles mosquitoes. Forty-one percent of the world's population lives in areas where malaria is transmitted. Worldwide, there are approximately 300 to 500 million clinical cases each year. An estimated 1 to 2 million people die from malaria each year, three-quarters of them children in Africa. Infection with malaria parasites may result in a wide variety of symptoms, ranging from no symptoms, or very mild ones, to severe disease and even death.

Four species of malaria parasites can infect humans: Plasmodium falciparum, P. vivax, P. ovale and P. malariae. The first two species cause the most infections worldwide. On the continent of Africa, P. falciparum malaria predominates, whereas in parts of Asia and Latin America, P. vivax is present in greater proportions. Two other species, P. ovale and P. malariae are also capable of causing human disease. Malaria morbidity, mortality, and transmission can be decreased if infection can be promptly diagnosed and adequately treated. There is widespread P. falciparum resistance to chloroquine and sulfadoxine-pyrimethamine (SP) in most countries. Therefore, treatment paradigms have shifted to artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT). Due to the increased cost of ACT and the need to minimize resistance from inappropriate use of it, there is an immediate need for improved diagnostics for malaria.

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