Monday, October 14, 2019

Malaria in history

Malaria is a mosquito-borne life-threatening infectious disease of humans, caused by parasites (genus: Plasmodium) that are transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes (genus: Anopheles).

The history of malaria stretches from its prehistoric origin as a zoonotic disease in the primates of Africa through to the 21st century. A widespread and potentially lethal human infectious disease, at its peak malaria infested every continent, except Antarctica.

The first evidence of malaria parasites was found in mosquitoes preserved in amber from the Palaeogene period that are approximately 30 million years old. Human malaria likely originated in Africa and coevolved with its hosts, mosquitoes and non-human primates. Malaria protozoa are diversified into primate, rodent, bird, and reptile host lineages.

In 2700 BC:, The Nei Ching(Chinese Canon of Medicine) discussed malaria symptoms and the relationship between fevers and enlarged spleens. The name is derived from the Italian, “mal aria,” or bad air.

In 1550 BC, The Ebers Papyrus mentions fevers, rigors, splenomegaly, and oil from Balantines tree as mosquito repellent.

For thousands of years, traditional herbal remedies have been used to treat malaria. The first effective treatment for malaria came from the bark of cinchona tree, which contains quinine. After the link to mosquitos and their parasites were identified in the early twentieth century, mosquito control measures such as widespread use of DDT, swamp drainage, covering or oiling the surface of open water sources, indoor residual spraying and use of insecticide treated nets was initiated.

In the 1890's British scientist Patrick Manson theorized that mosquitoes may be involved in malaria transmission. In 1897, Ronald Ross, a British officer in the Indian Medical Service, demonstrated that malaria parasites could be transmitted from infected patients to mosquitoes. He also showed that mosquitoes could transmit the parasites from bird to bird, demonstrating the existence of a sporogonic cycle (development within the mosquito).
Malaria in history

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