#DefeatMalaria on World Malaria Day
Spring! Warm weather, sunshine, flowers, and… mosquitoes. In many parts of the United States, these annoying creatures come sooner than people would like. Fortunately, they’re usually no more than a nuisance. But what do they mean for people in other parts of the world?
Imagine a mosquito. It bites you. You get a bump, it itches, and a few days later it’s gone. That’s it, the end.
Except when it’s not. In many countries, that bite can mean so much more. It can mean malaria- illness, oppressive medical expenses, and death.
However, did you know that malaria is preventable and curable?
WHO is most at risk?
The World Health Organization estimates that in 2012, malaria caused 207 million clinical episodes and 627,000 deaths. Pregnant women and children are particularly vulnerable to malaria’s effects. About 460,000 of the aforementioned deaths were children under the age of five.
WHAT are the effects of malaria?
Malaria is a disease caused by tiny parasites. Though it can be spread through blood transfusions, dirty syringes, and from mother to unborn child, mosquitoes are the most common cause of transmission. When a mosquito bites a person with malaria, the parasites infect the mosquito and are then passed on to the next person that gets bitten.
The symptoms of malaria are often similar to those of the flu. People come down with fever, chills, sweats, body aches, and nausea. Although malaria can be treated, the people most at risk often do not have ready access to health care, which means that severe illness, complications, and death are more likely to occur.
Malaria also has long-term effects. Since it disproportionately affects poorer individuals and communities, the economic burden of the illness is exacerbated. Families may strain their already limited resources in an effort to pay for treatment while also facing the burden of caring for an ill family member. This contributes to a cycle of poverty from which it is hard to escape.
WHERE is malaria an issue?
Malaria is a very real threat for the 3.4 billion people living in 106 countries who are at risk of malaria. It most commonly occurs in tropical and subtropical areas where mosquitoes are most prevalent and public health measures to control the disease have not been fully implemented. Approximately 90% of malaria deaths in 2012 occurred in sub-Saharan Africa.
WHEN will malaria be eliminated?
There is some good news. Since 2000, malaria mortality rates have decreased by about 25% thanks to a renewed effort to combat the disease. The long-term goal is complete eradication of malaria.
In the short term, control of current cases and prevention of continued transmission are high priorities. The UN Millennium Development Goals address the issue in goal 6, aiming to halt the spread and reverse the incidence of malaria by 2015.
Contact us at (202) 793-2232 and speak to one of our Fund Managers about how you can help battle the spread of malaria today! Or, check out our Give Now page.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: http://www.cdc.gov/malaria
World Health Organization: http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/malaria/en/
Johns Hopkins Malaria Research Institute: http://malaria.jhsph.edu/about_malaria/
Roll Back Malaria Partnership’s Global Malaria Action Plan: http://rbm.who.int/rbmgmap.html