It’s the Mala Aria That Kills You

22 02 2010

Bad air or “mala aria,” as the Italians first called it a few centuries ago, kills over a million people every year—mostly children.

Worldwide, there are about 250 million cases of malaria each year and half of the humans on the planet continue to be at risk of infection.

Symptoms of malaria made the medical texts of ancient China almost 5,000 years ago, and King Tut was most likely helped to his death by malaria.

Malaria certainly has its bona fides as a scourge of humanity.

Egyptologist Dr. Zahi Hawass led the recent studies that found an “…important result of the DNA studies was the discovery of material from Plasmodium falciparum,  the protozoon that causes malaria, in the body of Tutankhamun. Medicinal foodstuffs (i.e., drugs to fight fever and pain) found within the tomb support the team’s contention that the young king suffered from a severe malarial infection.”

After thousands of years, science has won a few battles but the war goes on.

The current goal is to increase access to prevention and protection methods, such as drugs for treatment, protective netting, and indoor spraying, with the hope that this will greatly reduce malaria cases and deaths.

None of this gets to the core problems of that blasted mosquito and the rotten parasite that uses the mosquito as transportation to get to humans. Turns out the parasite doesn’t even hurt the mosquito, as it so obviously does humans.

The hope is that the increased access to prevention/protection can be kept up long enough for scientists to discover ways to eliminate the core problems.

World Malaria Day is 25 April. Buy a net for a kid.  The net is cheap and the child’s life is priceless. Who knows, this child who lives because of the net you buy may grow up to be the scientist who discovers a cure for malaria.

Wouldn’t that be something.

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