Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

A human-rights approach is essential to end the global TB epidemic

"Where youth grows pale, and spectre-thin, and dies," wrote John Keats, in his acclaimed "Ode to a Nightingale." His words probably summarized his struggle against tuberculosis (TB), an ancient disease that killed millions ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

Tuberculosis can be eradicated by 2045: experts

The world can eradicate tuberculosis by 2045 if the fight against the killer disease is properly funded, an international team of experts said Wednesday.

Genetics

New research suggests earlier emergence of malaria in Africa

Malaria claims hundreds of thousands of lives each year—mainly children, and especially in Africa. It is one of the leading causes of death by an infectious agent, the Plasmodium falciparum parasite. In research on malaria, ...

Genetics

Tissue model reveals how RNA will act on the liver

Novel therapies based on a process known as RNA interference (RNAi) hold great promise for treating a variety of diseases by blocking specific genes in a patient's cells. Many of the earliest RNAi treatments have focused ...

Diseases, Conditions, Syndromes

The effect of climate change on disease

Just as snowbirds flock to warmer climes when winter settles in, wild creatures seek out weather that suits them. But a changing climate is moving that comfort zone for many animals, including disease-carrying mosquitoes ...

Immunology

Computer-designed vaccine elicits potent antibodies against RSV

A first-of-its-kind nanoparticle vaccine candidate for respiratory syncytial virus has been designed in an international research effort. RSV is second only to malaria as a cause of infant mortality worldwide. The new vaccine ...

Other

Niger busts fake medicines lab

Police in Niger said Tuesday they had closed down a lab in the capital Niamey making bogus drugs and fake beauty products for sale in local markets and neighbouring Nigeria.

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Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by eukaryotic protists of the genus Plasmodium. The disease results from the multiplication of Plasmodium parasites within red blood cells, causing symptoms that typically include fever and headache, in severe cases progressing to coma or death. It is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and the Americas.

Five species of Plasmodium can infect and be transmitted by humans. Severe disease is largely caused by Plasmodium falciparum while the disease caused by Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium ovale, and Plasmodium malariae is generally a milder disease that is rarely fatal. Plasmodium knowlesi is a zoonosis that causes malaria in macaques but can also infect humans.

Malaria transmission can be reduced by preventing mosquito bites by distribution of mosquito nets and insect repellents, or by mosquito-control measures such as spraying insecticides and draining standing water (where mosquitoes breed). Despite a clear need, no vaccine offering a high level of protection currently exists. Efforts to develop one are ongoing. A number of medications are also available to prevent malaria in travelers to malaria-endemic countries (prophylaxis).

A variety of antimalarial medications are available. Severe malaria is treated with intravenous or intramuscular quinine or, since the mid-2000s, the artemisinin derivative artesunate, which is superior to quinine in both children and adults. Resistance has developed to several antimalarial drugs, most notably chloroquine.

There were an estimated 225 million cases of malaria worldwide in 2009. An estimated 655,000 people died from malaria in 2010, a 5% decrease from the 781,000 who died in 2009 according to the World Health Organization's 2011 World Malaria Report, accounting for 2.23% of deaths worldwide. Ninety percent of malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, with ~60% of deaths being young children under the age of five. Plasmodium falciparum, the most severe form of malaria, is responsible for the vast majority of deaths associated with the disease. Malaria is commonly associated with poverty, and can indeed be a cause of poverty and a major hindrance to economic development.

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