Malaria is a horrible and infectious disease that is transmitted to humans by mosquitoes infected with it. Approximately 10-15 days after being bitten by a mosquito infected with malaria, you’ll typically have symptoms like a fever, feeling tired all the time, vomiting like there’s no tomorrow, and headaches of doom. If your case of malaria is really severe, it can cause you to have yellow skin, suffer from crippling seizures, fall into a coma, and eventually die.
With adequate medical treatment and preventative methods, malaria can be treated or avoided altogether like a boss. Humans as a whole have made great progress with this in the last 15 years and I’m about to toss some numbers in your direction about just how awesome we are at preventing and/or treating malaria these days! It’s important to note that — when properly treated by a doctor — malaria is often not deadly and if you’ve had it once and beat it into the ground, you’ll build up somewhat of an immunity to it and re-infections will generally be milder. The partial resistance will subside over the course of months and years though, if you aren’t exposed to ongoing malaria infections.
Each year, more and more people are reached with tools to keep nasty malaria mosquitoes at bay. For example, in 2003 only 3% of people in the world at risk of being infected had mosquito nets. Today, 50% have them and that number continues to grow. We hope it’s 100% soon!
Masai mother and child near Kilimanjaro, Tanzania
Numerous countries that used to be malaria-ridden are now able to completely prevent the infection from spreading. I.e. Azerbaijan and Sri Lanka reduced their number of malaria infections to zero for the first time in 2013. Many others (i.e. Egypt and Argentina) have been able to maintain a record of zero infections per year for several years now.
Although populations have grown by 43% in regions where malaria is present in Africa from 2000 to 2013, the number of infected individuals has actually dropped by over 25%. 173 million Africans were infected with malaria in 2000 and by 2013 that number had dropped to 128 million. It’s still a ton of people, but that number is going down and medical treatment is more available to many of them.
Globally speaking, the number of deaths related to malaria infections has actually dropped by 50%+ since 2000. That is awesome and bosslike to say the least!
Even though we’re winning the war against malaria, we must continue to fight it. Numerous people are still dying due to this terrible disease and these deaths could be prevented!