Saturday, April 1, 2017

World Malaria Day is April 25th!

April 25th is a very important day.  On this day, people in many parts of the world will come together to raise awareness and combat malaria.

Malaria is a very serious infectious disease that is caused by a parasite.  The parasite is carried by a mosquito.  Thus, the disease is spread through the insect’s bite.  “Most malaria cases and deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa. However, South-East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East, are also at risk. In 2015, 91 countries and areas had ongoing malaria transmission” (World Health Organization).

Malaria can be prevented in various ways.  Methods include installing bednets that contain insecticide, spraying insecticide, and taking antimalarial medicine.  Like many infections diseases, you’ll find that where malaria is currently an epidemic, people are living in poverty, as prevention methods and treatment require money.  It is interesting to note, UNICEF actually labels malaria as "a major cause of poverty."  The organization goes on to say that "the cost of malaria control and treatment drains African economies, slowing economic growth by about 1.3 per cent a year. Its prevention is an important part of poverty reduction and economic development.”  Additionally,  as the parasite becomes more and more resistant to medication, the cost rises, because stronger treatments have to be used.

Problems with malaria tend to occur in countries that have very warm climates.  In regards to the United States, the disease was a serious problem in South.  However, since the 1950s, this is not been the case.   However, it is important to note that 1,500 to 2,000 cases of malaria still pop up in the United States every year, although outbreaks are relatively isolated.  “The vast majority of cases in the United States are in travelers and immigrants returning from countries where malaria transmission occurs, many from sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia” (Centers for Disease Control).  In the United States, there still remains mosquitoes that are capable of transmitting malaria.  So helping people in other countries will certainly help people in this country, as well.

To learn how to help people in various parts of the world prevent malaria, visit the following sites:

 
  
To read about the symptoms and course of malaria, please click here

Sources:
Centers for Disease Control, About Malaria
https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/index.html 

Centers for Disease Control, Malaria Transmission in the United States
https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/about/us_transmission.html

Time and Date, World Malaria Day
https://www.timeanddate.com/holidays/un/world-malaria-day

World Health Organization, Malaria
http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs094/en/

UNICEF, The Reality of Malaria
https://www.unicef.org/health/files/health_africamalaria.pdf

D. Sledge and G. Mohler, G.  (Aug 2013).  Eliminating Malaria in the American South:  An Analysis of the Decline of Malaria in 1930s Alabama.  American Journal of Public Health, 103(8), 1381-1392.  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4007881/