More than just annoying summertime pests, mosquitoes are also responsible for spreading malaria, a disease that kills over half a million people every year. When Ronald Ross discovered that mosquitoes transmit malaria in 1897, he revolutionized our understanding of the disease and led to increased awareness about malaria prevention.
Today, the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid bites by infected mosquitoes. Insecticide-treated nets, preventive treatment for pregnant women and infants, and indoor residual spraying are all ways to reduce transmission, but the prevalence of mosquitoes in hard-hit areas like Sub-Saharan Africa pose a challenge to eradication measures.
You may be wondering why we have a World Mosquito Day when these animals are responsible for the transmission of malaria. Well, that is what this day is all about; raising awareness regarding this, so that more people will be safe and protected. It is also important to recognize that all animals and creatures play an important role in the circle of life, whether they are harmless or not.
Learn about World Mosquito Day
World Mosquito Day was created in order to honor the discovery made of the link between humans, malaria, and mosquitoes. This is something that has changed the health industry considerably, ensuring that humans can be protected.
Malaria is a disease that mosquitoes carry, which is caused by a parasite. It is curable and preventable, yet sadly, it still threatens the lives of millions of people across the globe. It is important to note that not all mosquitoes transmit malaria; only infected female anopheles are able to transmit this to humans.
You may be wondering how malaria is transmitted by a mosquito. It is as simple as a bite. If a mosquito bites you and it has been carrying malaria, the parasite is going to be released into your bloodstream, which can infect your entire body. Mosquitos are typically most active at night and dusk, and so they do not usually bite during the day. However, it is important to make sure that your body is protected at all times.
The latest statistics show that approximately 435,000 people die of malaria every year. Not only this, but there is believed to be approximately 219 million cases of malaria every year across the world. These are pretty big statistics, right? A lot of people do not realize just how serious the problem is, especially those that live in areas that are not at risk.
Malaria can be found in over 100 countries. It is a condition that typically impacts the world’s tropical areas. Nevertheless, roughly 70 percent of the malaria burden around the world is concentrated in 11 countries. One being India, and the rest being on the African continent.
If you are going to be travelling to a country that does have a malaria risk, it is imperative that you take the steps to protect yourself against this disease. You should sleep under a mosquito net, use mosquito repellent, and take malaria tablets. Of course, the best thing to do here is to book an appointment with your doctor before you travel so that he or she can make sure that you are prepared and protected.
Facts about malaria
Let’s take a look at some facts about this disease…
- Travellers that are not-immune and come from malaria-free areas are extremely vulnerable if they are infected with the disease. In 2010, singer Cheryl Cole became incredibly ill after she contracted malaria while on holiday in Africa. This should be a warning to everyone regarding just how dangerous the disease is.
- Malaria parasites have developed resistance to a lot of the drugs that are commonly used, including artemisinin and chloroquine, and this resistance is spreading quickly. As a consequence, the battle for malaria continues and a lot of health professionals continue searching for better medicines that fight against malaria.
- Malaria was eliminated from Greece officially in 1974.
- In a lot of the high income countries, the disease is under control. This is because of effective monitoring and aggressive prevention measures.
History of World Mosquito Day
World Mosquito Day was first established in 1897, when the link between mosquitoes and malaria transmission was discovered by Sir Ronald Ross. It aims to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented, as well as fundraising for research into the cure of malaria. It is also a salute to the groundbreaking work of Sir Ross and scientists who have followed him.
The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine celebrates World Mosquito Day with exhibitions and parties designed both to entertain and to inform, while other celebrations include Malaria No More’s ‘Mozzy Air’ campaign, encouraging people to take anti-malarial when flying to malaria zones, and Nothing But Nets’ twitter campaigns to provide mosquito nets for poor communities.
How to celebrate World Mosquito Day
Get involved by holding a fundraiser to provide nets or quinine, distributing information about the precautions people should take when travelling to danger spots, or celebrating the achievements of research into mosquitoes and how to prevent the diseases they carry.
There are a lot of different charities out there that have been designed to help combat this disease, with Malaria No More being the most famous. This charity supports the prevention of malaria in countries like Kenya, Namibia, Botswana, Ghana, and Nigeria. One of the ways that you can celebrate World Mosquito Day is by fundraising for a charity like this. There are many ways to fundraise; all you need is an idea that gets everyone involved. You can have a bake sale or organize a fun run. The options are endless. It does not need to be anything complex, so long as you can raise money and awareness, you’re good to go!
Another way to celebrate World Mosquito Day is to spend some time raising awareness online. You can share facts about malaria and raise awareness about the condition so that people know about the dangers. After all, as the statistics indicate above, there is still a long way to go to make sure that people are protected.
It is also good to spend some time reading about different cases whereby people have suffered from malaria and made it through. These stories are incredibly inspiring, and they can help to open your eyes to what this condition can do. You can find stories like this on charity websites, which can make your eyes water while also bringing a smile to your face because you can hear about people who have made it through. Unfortunately, though, this is not the outcome for everyone, and this is why it is important to keep raising awareness for this condition.
You can also spend the day reading up on the great work that is being done at the moment. There have been millions of dollars spent on malaria protection, prevention, and control around the world, and so there is a lot of hard work that is being done. The World Health Organization (WHO) has a report on this, and it makes an interesting read, as it helps you to understand how great the global undertaking is.
So there you have it: everything that you need to know about World Mosquito Day. This day is important when it comes to controlling and preventing malaria all around the world. We may think that we are not able to do anything in this fight, but we can. One message and one donation helps toward the global efforts, and this is what really matters.
History of World Mosquito Day
Mosquitoes, those tiny blood-sucking insects, are responsible for transmitting serious diseases such as malaria. With no vaccine currently available, malaria — an ancient disease that began afflicting humans from the beginning of agriculture and modern civilization — remains a deadly threat to people around the world. Caused by Plasmodium parasites, malaria shows up in historic texts as far back as the first millennium BCE. In fact, the first traces of malaria parasites were found in mosquito remains that are over 30 million years old!
Malaria has affected every continent except Antarctica, and remains a widespread problem in parts of the world including Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, and the Caribbean. Over 200 million people still contract malaria each year. In 2010, 90% of malaria deaths occured in Africa. The World Health Organization reports concerns about drug-resistant malaria, which can hamper efforts to reduce the spread of the disease.
World Mosquito Day honors the date when Sir Ronald Ross, a British army surgeon working in India, proved that mosquitoes transmit malaria by identifying pigmented malaria parasites in mosquitoes that fed on an infected patient. This discovery revolutionized our knowledge of the disease and led to new preventive measures. Ross won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1902.
Ross declared the first World Mosquito Day then and there, stating that the world must be made aware of the link between mosquitoes and malaria. Although an improved understanding of the disease has led to more innovative preventive measures and medical treatments, a malaria vaccine remains elusive.