World Malaria Day 2009
April 25, 2009
PRESS RELEASE 04/24/2009 | For Immediate Release
Elimination of Deadly Parasitic Disease is Possible
by Arjumand Thompson
Dear Subscribers -
For many of us, mosquitoes represent an annoying species, seemingly occurring in nature only to irritate and be grudgingly endured in the hot weather months of summer. The itching, scratching, slapping, incessant buzzing, and overuse of DEET are as much summertime traditions as ice cream and lemonade. But mosquitoes are more than simple irritations, tolerated only until a winter cold snap dries the standing water that acts as breeding grounds and fuels their activity. Carriers of disease, mosquitoes bring sickness and death to millions every year. Malaria, a mosquito-borne disease, sickens more people than any other parasitic disease - more than 515 million people are infected with malaria annually. As one of the deadliest diseases to be spread by the bite of a mosquito, up to 3 million people die from malaria infection. Of these fatalities, almost 850,000 are children.
There are four species of malaria that can cause infection in humans, with one, P. Falciparum, being responsible for almost all malaria-attributable deaths. The disease is almost exclusively found in developing countries located in tropical regions of Africa, Asia, South and Central America, Caribbean nations, and the Pacific. P. Falciparum is most prevalent in Sub Saharan Africa, where malaria epidemics are intensified by inadequate malaria control and prevention services, and thus where the most deaths occur. P. Falciparum is the deadliest species, but all strains can cause serious illness and remain a cause for concern.
Increasing resistance in mosquitoes to malaria drugs and insecticides - and the elimination of chemical pesticide spraying and fogging campaigns in some developing countries - has led to resurgences in the rates of malaria infection in the tropics. But the global burden of malaria can be reduced with proper interventions. According to Joel Bremen, malaria expert and senior scientific advisor at the U.S. National Institutes of Health, malaria control and elimination is possible with increased participation in malaria programs, greater compliance with drug treatment and bed net maintenance, use of pesticide spraying, and cost-effective, affordable interventions. Dr. Breman emphasized the need for "well-supported" research and "perhaps most importantly, we need to train many more malariologists and others--in clinical, service delivery, managerial, laboratory, and research disciplines to confront the huge malaria problem." (View the full transcript of Dr. Breman's recent online discussion with PRB Discuss).
This April 25th, World Malaria Day events around the world will highlight malaria control efforts. The Disease Control Priorities Project (DCPP) has developed several technical resources to address this important issue.
Visit www.dcp2.org to find out more. Visit the sites below to see how some organizations around the world recognize World Malaria Day 2009.
World Malaria Day 2009 Around The World
DCPP has developed several technical resources to address this important issue. Visit www.dcp2.org to find out more.
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