Blog #1 Toby Mast
Malaria is a parasitic disease that is carried by mosquitoes. The disease is most common in Africa and southwest Asia (especially in tropical countries). In 2012, more than half a million children were killed by this deadly disease. The horrible part about this is they could have been saved. One dollar can buy a life saving treatment that will save a child with malaria. Bed nets prevent the disease from spreading and save people sleeping under them. Also multiple vaccines are close to success and with more funding there could be complete eradication of the disease. Despite an impending solution, every 60 seconds a child dies as the parasite destroys their body. According to the Lancet (a medical journal) malaria is one of the top ten causes of death we could prevent.
Miliaria starts in the saliva of the mosquito. When the mosquito bites a human, the mosquito injects its saliva numbing the wound. The parasite enters the bloodstream with the salvia. Then the parasite travels through the blood and into the liver. The parasite lives there for a year maturing and re-enters the bloodstream. The parasite enters red blood cells and reproduces inside of the cells until they rupture. The destruction of red blood cells eventually
The malaria parasite destroying red blood cells
Here you can see the malaria cycle
kills the human unless their immune system manages to kill the parasite. This is why malaria is deadly to children, the elderly or the weak who are more likely to have weaker immune systems.
Unique components of malaria are what causes difficulties in eradication. For example, mosquitoes are killed in one area in an expensive endeavour to eliminate mosquito born diseases. A year later when the mosquito population returns, the parasite within the liver could mature and enter the bloodstream. The infected person is bitten by the mosquito and some of the parasites are pulled back into the mosquito. The next person the mosquito bites receives the parasite.
in this diagram, the Malaria spreads as one person is bitten multiple times, then the mosquitoes that bite other humans spreading the disease. This pattern would continue making the spread exponential.
Another part of the disease that makes it deadly is the difficulty to diagnose without a blood test. Almost all the symptoms could be from more common diseases, and require thorough examination or an expansive blood test to diagnose. The final
The symptoms of malaria are very common in many diseases excluding spleen enlargement. This image is from medilinks.blogspot
examination or an expansive blood test to diagnose. The final reason it is difficult to eradicate is it will requires a unique vaccine. The vaccine would ideally need to:
- have a way to effectively transport without the need for liquid nitrogen
-Be versatile and convert to face multiple subspecies of malaria.
-be inexpensive and easy to manufacture
-have less than 3 treatments
-have a high percentage of prevention
Despite the difficulty, there are organizations that work to create vaccines. One organization is known as PATH Malaria vaccine initiative. They fund promising research for vaccines and help them move to the approval process. There is hope: there is a vaccine that would save millions of lives. The problem is according to MVI, it would take half a billion dollars to eradicate.
Therefore, the making of these vaccines is not eminent. They will be made later while in the mean time people slowly die while a dollar could buy life-saving treatment. In the program called the Power of One, a dollar treatment will be given to a dying child. Bed nets prevent the the spreading and original infection. Malaria treatments have saved 5.1 million people. You could save another and take a step to make the world a better place.
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