Saturday, March 31, 2007

Malaria in Africa

From The End of Poverty [yes, I'm trying to get back to posting more notes from the book]:
- claims 3M lives a year - 90% of whom live in Africa
- Four types of human malaria
- Malaria caused by Plasmodium falciparum is by far the most lethal variant and is responsible for the vast proportion of malaria cases in Africa.
- central ecological point - the warmer the temperature, the faster the life-cycle change for the parasite to go from the stomach back to the saliva of the mosquito - to be put into the next person
- Some types of mosquitoes prefer to bite people whereas others feed off cattle. Transmitting malaria requires two consecutive human bites: the first for the mosquito to ingest the parasite and the second for the mosquito to infect another person, roughly two weeks later. Africa has a predominating mosquito type which prefers human biting nearly 100 percent of the time.
- Africa is really unlucky when it comes to malaria: high temperatures, plenty of breeding sites and mosquitoes that prefer humans to cattle. Africa's crisis is unique, with only a few other scattered parts of Asia sharing the same high ecological burden.
If you are like me, you had no idea that Africa was such a unique, isolated, perfect storm for malaria.

[Related posts from the book: Chapter 1, 2, and 3.]

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