Covid 19 and malaria – What you should know

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A lot of misconceptions are going on around about covid 19 and malaria. Some people believe the pandemic being experienced is not covid 19, rather they claim it is malaria. This is due to some non-specific symptoms people with covid 19 tend to present with. 

A lot is already known about malaria but studies are going on to cone down some facts about covid 19. Should covid 19 then be taken lightly with just a little knowledge of it? Should we live our life as if its malaria that a lot is already known about? That is a food for thought for all and sundry.

About covid 19

Over the past few months, a disease not seen to infect humans before ravaged the whole world. This pandemic has infected millions of people with thousands of deaths recorded. This disease is called covid 19. It is caused by a new strain of coronavirus that has not been seen to infect humans before. The strain was named novel coronavirus. It was discovered in December 2019, in Wuhan province, china. 

Covid 19 is an infectious disease. Majority of people infected with novel coronavirus will experience mild to moderate symptoms and recover without any special treatment while some will require hospital admission and intensive treatment. Everyone is at risk of being infected with this virus but some set of people are at increased risk. This include elderly, pregnant women, those with long term debilitating illnesses like diabetes, hypertension, cancer, kidney disease etc. 

Covid 19 is highly infectious. If an infected person talks sneezes or coughs, he can infect as many people that are in close contact with him. Some of these droplets can fall on surfaces, if these surfaces are touched and the eyes, nose, mouth are subsequently touched, one can become infected.

Maintaining social distancing, using a face mask in public places and frequent hand washing are the keys to covid 19 prevention. No special treatment and vaccines has been identified to combat coronavirus infection so far. In lieu of this, prevention is key to eradicating coronavirus infection.

About malaria

Malaria is a disease that has been infecting human for some time. It is both a preventable and treatable disease. This disease can be fatal in some set of people which include children less than 5 years, pregnant women and those living with HIV. It is caused by plasmodium parasite and is spread by female anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes usually come out at night. When an infected female anopheles mosquito bites human, it deposit this parasite in human’s blood. This individual can experience symptoms ranging from mild to severe based on his immune status.

Considering the implication of the cost needed in treating people that comes down with this disease and how fatal it can sometimes be, prevention is advisable. Use of insecticide treated nets can serve as a barrier and prevent mosquito from biting human. The insecticide in these nets can help with killing of mosquitoes. Insecticides can also be sprayed indoor to kill the mosquitoes that carry these parasites. Other ways by which this can be prevented include environmental hygiene-this involves keeping our environment clean, cutting of bushes and ensuring drainage of stagnant water around us.

What makes covid 19 similar to malaria?

While some symptoms are specific to some disease conditions, some nonspecific symptoms can be experienced in most disease conditions. This is why a high index of suspicion is needed in differentiating diseases from one another.

Some of the non-specific symptoms an individual with malaria and another with covid can present with include high temperature, feeling tired, body pains, chills and rigor, headache, sore throat, difficulty with breathing, loss of taste or smell.

This has made differentiating covid 19 and malaria from the history and examination technical. Other history like travel history, close contact with covid patient and history of cough may be helpful. Taking the required investigations to differentiate them will confirm the diagnosis.

What are the differences between covid 19 and malaria?

Although there seems to be a lot of similarities between covid 19 and malaria, their differences when taken into consideration with a high index of suspicion can help to differentiate both. 

Talking about the incubation period – this is the time between exposure to the disease causing agent and onset of symptoms. It ranges between 2 – 14 days for covid 19 while for malaria it is 7 – 18 days.  Contact with any person suspected to have covid 19 might help differentiate this. Also malaria is caused by a parasite while covid 19 is caused by a virus. Malaria is transmitted by mosquito bite while covid 19 by getting in contact with droplets from an infected person.

Symptom wise, it may seem difficult differentiating malaria and covid 19. This is because most people with mild to moderate coronavirus disease tend to present with non-specific symptoms similar to malaria. Furthermore, the severe cases of covid 19 can mimic severe malaria. This is where investigation comes in. Taking coronavirus infection test will help to differentiate this.

Why covid 19 should be prevented?

A lot of research is still ongoing about covid 19. Unlike malaria in which significant amount of information has already been gathered, just a little is known about covid 19. It has not been confirmed if covid 19 infection confers immunity or there can even be possibility of reinfection. No specific vaccine or treatment has been linked to covid 19 till now.

In view of this, preventing coronavirus infection by ensuring social distancing, use of face mask in public places, frequent washing of hands or use of hand sanitizers will protect us from being infected until significant information is gathered about this disease.

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Dr Kay
About Dr Kay 58 Articles
As a physician, I love to give answers to several questions bothering people, educating them on how to be healthy, breaking down what their present condition is all about and counselling them on how to manage their condition.

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