Protist diseases

Protists are a group of microorganisms that are eukaryotic, which means they have a nucleus.

Malaria

Malaria is spread by mosquitos which carry the Plasmodium protist. These are often found in areas with higher temperatures in Africa, Asia, and South and Central America. Mosquitos suck blood containing the protists from an infected person and pass them on to other people by sucking their blood. The mosquitos do not become ill and are called vectors because they transmit the disease.

The symptoms of malaria include a fever, sweats and chills, headaches, vomiting and diarrhoea. Of the 200 million people infected each year, up to half die from this disease. There is no vaccination for malaria. Infection can be prevented by stopping individuals from being bitten. People sleep under mosquito nets and wear insect repellent to avoid bites. Antimalarial drugs are also taken, which treat the symptoms and can prevent infection.