Dengue and Malaria

Mosquito with image of parasites transmitted

Tropical Blood Disease Vector

Serious Tropical Blood Diseases

Dengue and Malaria

Nearly 1/2 of the world’s population are at risk of contracting tropical blood diseases, specifically malaria, and dengue. Dengue is endemic in 110 countries around the world.  How does one contract the disease?  How can we prevent ourselves from these diseases?  Are there any natural cures?

First, let’s review some statistics.

Malaria Statistics
In 2012 there were 207 million reported malaria cases with 627,000 deaths.
90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa.
Increased prevention & control measures have reduced malaria mortality by 49% since 2000.
Every minute a child dies from malaria – this is the equivalent of 7 jumbo jets full of children disappearing every day.  All under the age of 5.
Pregnant women are at higher risk of dying from complications of severe malaria.

Dengue Statistics
Between 1% – 5% of all people that contract dengue die without treatment.
With severe dengue there is a 26% mortality rate.
40% of the world’s population live in risky areas.
There are 50 million – 100 million infections annually.
In 2012 there were 22,000 deaths due to dengue.

Both Dengue and Malaria are contracted via a vector.  A vector is simply a mosquito.  The anopheles mosquito transmits malaria, and several species transmit dengue, however it is the Aedes genus mosquito that is the principal transmitter of the disease.

Mosquitos breed in water.  When the mosquito bites an infected person it sucks up a parasite in the case of malaria, and a virus in the case of dengue.  Once the mosquito bites another person, it will transmit these parasites and virus.

The best prevention from malaria and dengue is to remove any standing water in the area close to where you live to prevent breeding of the mosquito.  Sleeping under nets, spraying oneself with bug repellent, wearing long sleeved shirts, and long pants, and spraying one’s home are other precautions one can take when preventing the contraction of these diseases.

With malaria, this disease is treatable, but must be done quickly.  In Honduras most often, Primaquine is used as the treatment.  This will kill all the parasites in the body, including any that may have all ready gone dormant in the liver.  This treatment will help prevent any relapses.

If treatment is not handled quickly, over time the parasites attack the red blood cells, and find their way to the liver where they may go dormant for years, possibly even decades.  A recurrence of the disease may ensue years later, and because the time has lapsed one may forget that your current ailment is due to malaria and go undetected.

Symptoms of malaria are dependent on the type of malaria contracted, but may include: fever, chills, headache, sweats, fatigue, nausea, and vomiting.  Other common symptoms may be: dry cough, back pain, muscle ache, and enlarged spleen.  With more severe cases one may also incur: impairment of brain function, impairment of spinal cord function, seizures and loss of consciousness.

There is an experimental malaria vaccine currently being tested in trials that is showing a 100% protection rate.  These are very promising results and may end with a vaccine available in the very near future.

For those visiting in risky areas, often times they are prescribed chloroquine for short term protection.  This is not something that can be taken long term as it will destroy the liver.

There is no natural treatment for malaria so this one must be treated with conventional medicine.

Dengue is also transmitted via mosquitoes.  A mosquito feeds on a person during a 5 day period when large amounts of virus are in their blood.  This period usually begins before the person becomes symptomatic.  Some people never have significant symptoms, but can still infect mosquitoes.  After this virus enters the blood meal of the mosquito, it requires an additional 8 – 12 days of incubation before it can be transmitted to another human.  The mosquito will remain infected throughout its remaining lifetime.

Dengue impacts the white blood cells, and the symptoms will bring a sudden fever and acute pains in the joints.  This disease is also known as break bone fever.  In addition to a fever and joint pains, one may also experience abdominal pain, vomiting, liver enlargement, and a skin rash that looks similar to measles.  These symptoms will last usually 2 – 7 days.  Nearly 50% – 80% of people that contract dengue will experience a rash the first or second day of symptoms.  Severe itching may also accompany the rash.

Severe disease risk factors include: females, people with high body mass index, and viral load ( how much virus is in the body).

There are no vaccines, or preventative medicine one can take to avoid dengue.  However, there are some small scientific studies that look promising by using 3 tablespoons of papaya leaf juice daily for 3 days that will help minimize the symptoms suffered.  Another option is to take a young papaya and the papaya juice blended together, and drink this 2 – 3 times daily.  This does not contradict any medical advice and has shown significant increase in platelet levels within 40 hours.  Fenugreek or basil leaf consumption can also soothe and cleanse the system and ease symptoms.

Bottom line, these diseases, malaria and dengue are serious, and if not treated properly can cause severe complications and issues in the future.  These are two disease that can only be treated properly with conventional medicine.  The information above pertaining to papaya is a supplemental natural approach to treating dengue.