It’s the summer vacation and lots of us will be jetting off to exotic places. You’ve packed your swimming gear and sunscreen but have you considered the bugs? According to Malaria No More, the disease causes 216 million illnesses per year and 655,00 deaths. Approximately 1,500 cases of malaria are diagnosed in the United States each year. Around 10% are cases of severe malaria, which have a significantly higher chance of death.
Malaria affects almost half the global population and is transmitted by mosquitoes but not all mosquitoes are malarial. The Aedes mosquito is common in the US and does not spread disease, although the bites are unpleasant and can become infected.
The Anopheles mosquito is the main vector for malaria. The adult is pale with dark marks on its wings. Malaria parasites are transmitted via the bite of a female Anopheles mosquito. The parasite lifecycle passes through two parts, one in the mosquito and one in its human victim. Symptoms usually appear 9-14 days after infection and include fever, shivering, vomiting and other flu-like symptoms. If not treated malaria can be deadly; early, accurate diagnosis and treatment is key but not getting bitten is even better.
Wear an insect repellent and cover up arms and legs in the evening when mosquitoes are at their most active. Check if your destination is malarial on this map.
- Deaths from Malaria have fallen by 26% since 2000.
- A child dies from Malaria every minute
- Over 90% of Malarial deaths are in Africa.
- The disease is a primary cause of poverty in Africa. It has been estimated to cost Africa more than US$ 12 billion every year in lost GDP.
- The transmission of malaria by mosquitoes was first discovered by British Doctor, Sir Ronald Ross when he was researching malaria in India, on 20 August 1897. This day is now known as World Mosquito Day.
- The parasite rapidly goes to the liver within 30 minutes.
- Drinking gin and tonic or eating garlic will not stop you getting bitten or contracting malaria.