Islamabad - Health experts on Sunday stressed the need for taking prevention measures to control malaria in the country.

According to them, malaria was a life threatening disease caused by parasites that were transmitted to people through the bites of infected mosquitoes particularly in present high-risk season.  They said parasites were spread to people through the bites of infected anopheles mosquitoes, called malaria vectors, which bite mainly between dusk and dawn.

They added non immune travellers from malaria free areas were very vulnerable to the disease when they get infected.

Medical practitioner Dr Wasim Khawaja from Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) said that parents and caretakers of children needed to realize that it was their moral, ethical and religious obligation to ensure their children were protected against diseases and disability through completion of the immunization course.

He urged media persons to play their role in motivating families and communities to avail free vaccination service against the diseases available in the hospitals.

He said that malaria was an acute febrile illness, adding, in a non immune individual, symptoms appear seven days or more usually 10 to 15 days after the infective mosquito bite.

Dr Khawaja said the first symptoms like fever, headache, chills and vomiting may be mild and difficult to recognize as malaria . If not treated within 24 hours, malaria can progress to severe illness often leading to death, he added.

Dr Sharif Astori from Federal Government Poly Clinic (FGPC) said children with severe malaria frequently develop one or more of the symptoms like severe anaemia, respiratory distress in relation to metabolic acidosis, or cerebral malaria .

He said in adults, multi organ involvement was also frequent while in malaria endemic areas, persons may develop partial immunity, allowing asymptomatic infections to occur.

He said malaria epidemics can occur when climate and other conditions suddenly favour transmission in areas where people have little or no immunity to malaria .

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