Posts Tagged malaria in the United States

Smelly Socks Help Fight Malaria

While this sock may repulse most of us, it attracts malaria-carrying mosquitoes

While this sock may repulse most of us, it attracts malaria-carrying mosquitoes

This story out of London, I must admit, made me giggle. How many of us have unfortunately received an unwanted whiff of smelly feet? I have and it’s gross, but apparently smelly socks are joining the fight against malaria. Yes, socks may help fight the most dangerous mosquito-borne disease.

In a recent lab study, mosquitoes were introduced to smelly dirty socks. The mosquitoes that were infected and were carrying malaria were more attracted to the odor than those without the disease. In fact, they were three times more likely to be attracted to the smelly socks.

So what does it mean? As Dr. James Logan of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine explains, “every time we identify a new part of how the malaria mosquito interacts with us, we’re one step closer to controlling it better.” Source.

Up until this point, scientists didn’t know if carrying malaria made a mosquito more attracted to humans. This research, proved that. The hope is that traps can be created to target malaria mosquitoes using their sense of smell. By using smell as the trigger, scientists believe it would be difficult for the pests to avoid traps. Andrew Reed, a professor of biology and entomology at the University of Pennsylvania, explains that “the only way mosquitoes could (develop resistance) is if they were less attracted to human odors. And if they did that and started feeding on something else, that would be fine.” Source.

The next step in researching and developing a trap is to synthetically reproduce the foot odor, which has to be just right. Mosquitoes have very keen senses of smell so extensive testing will be needed to pinpoint the chemicals that attract them and the create the right balance.

Mosquitoes are the most deadly animal on earth due to the number of disease they transmit through their bites. Malaria, in particular, is estimated to kill 600,000 people a year. Most of those deaths take place in Africa. What a lot of people don’t realize is that malaria is both preventable and treatable. At Mosquito Squad, we do our part in helping fight malaria through our partnership with Malaria No More. Malaria No More is a nonprofit whose goal is to stop malaria deaths in Africa.  They raise awareness and funds to help provide protective bed nets, malaria tests and malaria treatments.

For many of us in the United States, we weren’t alive or remember a time when malaria was an issue in our country, but it was. The Centers for Disease Control was first created with the goal of eradicating malaria from the US. Insecticide was sprayed by airplanes as well as around homes and by the beginning of the 1950s, malaria was no longer considered an issue in the United States.

While our pest control company locations help fight mosquitoes and the diseases they carry here, we are always following the latest news on what is happening in the fight to end malaria. If you would like to learn more about malaria and Malaria No More, please visit their website. You can help fight malaria by donating at SwatMalaria.net.

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Mosquito Squad Joins Malaria No More to Draw Attention to Malaria Epidemic Through World Malaria Day on April 25, 2012

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

Tomorrow is the fifth annual World Malaria Day and this year’s theme is simple: “Sustain Gains, Save Lives: Invest in Malaria.” To help do our part, Mosquito Squad continues to support Malaria No More in its goal of reaching near zero deaths in Africa by 2015. In fact, we recently committed more than $50,000 to help fight this treatable and preventable disease. If you want to help us in our fight against malaria, donate at SwatMalaria.net on World Malaria Day!

Established by the World Health Assembly, World Malaria Day was started in 2007 to provide “education and understanding of malaria.” Its first theme was “Malaria – a disease without borders.” Although malaria is heavily concentrated in sub-Saharan Africa, it, at times, reached epidemic levels in many parts of the world, including Europe and North America.

In honor of World Malaria Day, here are some facts about the disease that you may not know:

  • The world malaria comes from the Italian words for “bad air” because the disease was first thought to be a result of bad swamp air.
  • It is the world’s deadliest disease, killing over 650,000 people a year, most of which are children
  • Some Egyptian mummies show signs of malaria
  • Aristotle, Homer and Hippocrates all described the symptoms of malaria in their works
  • Shakespeare alludes to malaria in eight of his plays
  • In Europe, it spread as far north as Russia
  • The Incas were the first to find relief from malaria using bark from the cinchona tree
  • George Washington, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant all suffered from the disease
  • British physician Ronald Ross was the first to discover that malaria was carried by the mosquito in 1897
  • The US Center for Disease control was initially set up with the mission to control the spread of malaria
  • Malaria was eradicated in the US in the 1950s
  • Malaria mosquitoes need to drink blood every three days
  • Symptoms of the disease usually appear 10-15 days after a person is infected

World Malaria Day is a day to spread awareness of the disease as well as a day to take action. A donation of just $10 to Malaria No More can help protect a mother and three small children against this terrible illness. To give now, visit SwatMalaria.net.

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Bill Gates Donates $750 Million to Help Fight Malaria

Last week, Microsoft founder and billionaire Bill Gates pledged $750 million (yes, you heard that correctly, $750 million) to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. The fund had to cancel over $1 billion of spending last year that would have gone to expanding programs fighting the diseases. Gates explained “These are tough economic times, but that is no excuse for cutting aid to the world’s poorest” – source.

The Global Fund was created in 2002 “to dramatically increase resources to fight three of the world’s most devastating diseases, and to direct those resources to areas of greatest need,” source. In the case of malaria, the Global Fund has helped to provide over 230 million mosquito nets to protect against infection. 230 million malaria drug treatments have also been send to Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia where the spread of malaria is most prevalent.

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

Dread Skeeter from Mosquito Squad helping Malaria No More

We’re happy to see that a big name like Bill Gates is bringing more attention to something that is dear to our heart: fighting malaria. What a lot of people don’t know is that malaria was common in the United States until the 1940s when National Malaria Eradication Program addressed the growing problem. The program included “drainage, removal of mosquito breeding sites and spraying of insecticides.” – source.

Malaria is both preventable and treatable, yet it still takes a life every minute. Every minute! To do our part, Mosquito Squad has partnered with Malaria No More in their quest to end malaria deaths by 2015. If you are interested in donating, please visit SwatMalaria.net.

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