Malaria disease

   Malaria is an acute sickness caused by an ani­mal parasite which is visible only under a microscope. This animal parasite has the generic name Plasmodium. It is transferred to people by the bite of an infected mosquito.
   Malaria shows itself by an attack of chills, followed by a fever and then a sweat. The attacks may occur daily, every other. day, or with three days in between. Each type of the disease is caused by a Plasmodium with an additional species name, but all are members of the same genus and all need to reside for a time in the mosquito to complete a phase of their development.
   Because of this relationship with the mosquito, the disease is more prevalent in swampy places. Malaria was well-known in Rome because the marshes around the city provided excellent breeding grounds. The Italians named the disease malaria because of their mistaken notion that bad air was the only cause. Their word "mal", meaning bad, and "aria", meaning air, shows that they lacked knowledge of the disease.
   It was not until the nineteenth century that more accurate knowledge of the disease finally was gained. The work of Pasteur and Koch did away almost completely with the "bad air" theory and tended to fortify the belief that small animals got into man's blood stream and were carried from one person to another by means of bites from the mosquitoes of swamps and marshes.
   The use of Peruvian bark or cinchona proved a treatment for the disease. Refinement of the drug into the present-day quinine has been of great value to man. Today quinine and, more especially, its synthetic substitutes such as atabrine are used as preventive measures.