mosquito-born malaria parasite kills up to 2 million people
In many parts of the world - especially in African countries south of the Sahara - it is a major killer
of children under the age of 5.
Following a bite by an infected mosquito, signs of the disease usually begin with flu-like symptoms. These including fever, chills, headache, and nausea. As the disease progresses, yellowing of the eyes may result from associated liver or kidney damage. If left untreated, malaria can be fatal.
Quinine has been the traditional drug used to combat malaria, although today it usually coupled with combination therapy including certain antibiotics. Depending on the type and geographic location of the outbreak, certain anti-malarial drugs have proven more effective than others.
How to avoid malaria when traveling
Currently, there is no known inoculation against malaria, although preventative drugs in pill form - such as Mefloquine, Malarone, Doxycycline, Fansidar, or Primaquine - help cut down the risk of catching the disease.
Since no malaria pill is 100% effective, prevention also consists of common sense precautions against mosquito bites, such as wearing long-sleeve shirts and pants, and the use of insect repellent, and a bed net.
Countries where risk remains high include South Africa and other African countries south of the Sahara. Other areas of the world prone to malaria are the Brazilian Amazon; the jungles of Bolivia and Colombia; and many rural parts of India and Southeast Asia.
In western Europe and the United States, public health measures have effectively eliminated malaria. However, mosquitoes can still transmit the disease anywhere in the world and reintroduction of malaria remains a constant risk.
Malaria and DDT
In a delicate balance between environmental concerns and the battle against malaria, a near-global ban
on the insecticide DDT beginning in the 1970's increased the population of mosquitoes, and sparked an ongoing controversy.
Today, regulation against the use of DDT have been lifted in certain circumstances, specifically in Sub-Saharan countries where malaria is a larger concern. Meanwhile, improvements in the local health infrastructure that encourage early diagnosis and treatment has resulted in renewed hope for controlling the disease.
Around the Web, find out more about malaria, its symptoms
& treatment, current research, and what else worldwide organizations
are doing to combat the disease ...
Malaria.com - The site design stands in stark contrast to the topic. A simply beautiful setup with pages of easily located information and updates together with related resources.
Malaria Research Resources - Boasting the first electronic
malaria research network in the world - a consortium of the
National Library of Medicine (NLM) and related organizations
in Africa, the U.S., the United Kingdom (U.K.) and Europe
- and providing access for scientists working in Africa.
WHO - Malaria - Mapping Malaria Risk In Africa, with data
the main draw here although the resources lead to more generalized
information. The numbers paint a vivid picture of the need for research
Fighting Malaria - This site is very pro DDT to curb the mosquito population. Full disclosure: it is also backed by two of the largest mining operations in South Africa.
is intended as reference and not as medical advice.
All treatment decisions should be made by medical professionals.