How is malaria transmitted?
A malarial infection thrives in the bloodstream and it thus easily transmitted by blood. Here is a brief breakdown of how the transmission cycle works:
- An uninfected mosquito ‘feeds’ (bites or draws blood) on an infected person (who has malaria).
- The mosquito becomes infected with the parasite and bites the next person, transmitting the Plasmodium parasite to them.
- The parasite enters the blood stream of the now infected person and travels to the liver, as well as attacking the body’s red blood cells as it moves through the bloodstream.
- The parasite begins to mature and develops symptoms such as fever and body chills.
- If an uninfected mosquito bites an infected person, the cycle begins again, spreading the malarial parasite to another individual.
An infected person can also pass on their condition to others (though rare). Other means of transmission include blood transfusions, during an organ transplant, the sharing of needles (often used to inject drugs) or syringes and from mother to her unborn child during birth (known as congenital malaria).