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The Devastation Caused By Malaria

With the state of fear caused by the latest scares in the media, it is sometimes easy to gloss over the effects of old killers. Malaria is one such subject.

The Devastation Caused by Malaria

Malaria is an absolute killer. The devastation caused by malaria is so outlandish that most people cannot even grasp the numbers. Between 300 and 500 MILLION people are infected with it each and every year. Of this number, between 1.5 and 2.5 million will die from the disease. Most of these fatalities will be children.

To further grasp these numbers, consider the following comparisons. Roughly 126,000 American soldiers were killed in World War I, a period of four years. For the same time period, malaria will kill between 6 and 10 million people. Roughly 406,000 Americans died in the horror of World War II, about 20 to 30 percent of the number of people killed each year by malaria. Put simply, we are talking about a serial killer on an unimaginable skill.

One of the problems with malaria is that it is overshadowed by the disease or threat of the day. In this modern world, we seem to fixate on whatever the latest possible threat to us is, no matter how unlikely. From biological attacks to nuclear war to asteroids falling out of the sky, the maintenance of our state of fear is dependent on a new scare every year. While these threats never seem to play out, malaria just continues to kill without much media play. It simply isn't a sexy enough threat, and is now fairly rare in first world countries.

The sad thing is we know how to eliminate malaria. It is transported by a particular type of mosquito - Anopheles. When the mosquito bites, most people mistakenly believe it immediately starts sucking blood. In fact, it first injects a saliva solution to desensitize the skin so we don't notice. This saliva solution contains the malaria parasite and infects the host. By spraying to eliminate mosquitoes, we can eradicate the problem. This was done in North America and much of Europe, solving the problem nicely.

A person dies from malaria once every 30 seconds. If it took you a minute to read this article, 2 people died. Isn't it time we deal with this problem?