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Malaria

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onewithnature
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Re: Malaria

Unread postby onewithnature » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:00 pm

I presume your post refers to Kruger, Eddie? Simply put, there will be pockets of higher-risk areas, such as stagnant pools of water, but as this is not fixed and, in any case, the mosquitoes in a malarially-designated area are pretty much everywhere, the authorities declare the malaria borders according to general averaged frequency of contracting the disease. I've heard people try and justify certain areas as less risky than others, sometimes to lessen the use of antimalarial measures, but the safest and wisest attitude to adopt is that the whole of Kruger is a malarial area whose malaria risk changes seasonally. Keep to the guidelines and malaria-area maps by trusted authorities and you will not go wrong.
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Re: Malaria

Unread postby Pjw » Tue Jul 21, 2015 5:07 pm

Just a hypothetical question:
If one has been in a high risk malaria area and think you have been bitten by a mosquito......can one do a blood test to check before the 14-21 day incubation period? i.e. before any symptoms?
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Re: Malaria

Unread postby onewithnature » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:07 pm

Pjw, I can only give general pointers here as the subject is quite complicated and needs an in-depth understanding to ensure accurate results and interpretation thereof. For example, the type of test and its quality in manufacture plays a role. Then there is the question of the balance between sensitivity of a test and its specificity, with an increase in one factor often meaning a loss of accuracy in the other. Also, no test is one-hundred percent effective in diagnosing every case of malaria. The WHO has guidelines in this regard as to what is acceptable for a test.
In general, the tests pick up antigens to the presence of malaria parasites. There must be a minimum level of concentration of parasites in the blood for the test to find the person positive for malaria infection. So, you must have been infected by a malaria parasite for the test to pick it up, and parasite concentration increases over time. But, yes, it is possible to detect the antigens before symptoms show, especially as some people take an extended period to show suitably noticeable symptoms. The other problem with malaria symptoms is that it may be similar to other diseases, especially colds and flus. Then there is a major problem with malaria testing as well - the lack of sensitivity of a test can lead to false-negatives, which means that the test shows you to be free of malaria, but in actual fact you are infected. On the other hand, the lack of specificity of a test can lead to false-positives, which means that the test shows you to have the disease when you do not.
So, does this mean you should test every time you think you were bitten by a malaria-infected mosquito? I cannot give a definite answer on this, but I think common sense should prevail. If in any doubt, rather have a proper lab-controlled test as this is the gold standard for confirming malaria infection. One cannot rely only on home tests or symptoms, but these certainly are valuable in prompting the individual to seek accurate malaria diagnosis and, if needed, treatment. The goal, after all, for using home malaria tests is early detection of malaria to ultimately save lives. I hope that gives some idea?
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Re: Malaria

Unread postby Pjw » Tue Jul 21, 2015 6:13 pm

thanks OWN It does explain quite a bit!
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