One final observation on our great post-war successes in controlling malaria by targeting its vector, the Anopheles mosquito. By using that most marvelous insecticide DDT, we were beginning to gain the upper hand in our conquest of malaria as clearly demonstrated in the table below. Country Malaria occurrence per annum prior to introduction of DDT Malaria occurrence per annum after the introduction of DDT Sardinia
One method widely used to control malaria is providing families with insecticide-treated bed nets. Overall, this strategy is very successful, having halting hundreds of millions of cases over the past 15 years. In some parts of the world, however, mosquitoes "learn" to avoid bed nets by biting people earlier in the day.
The innovations of Dr. Henry Heimlich extended well beyond his famed anti-choking maneuver. The Heimlich Chest Drain Valve gets blood and air out of the chest cavity of soldiers shot there. He also developed the Heimlich MicroTrach, a tiny tube providing certain advantages to delivering oxygen into the trachea, and effectively the lungs.
A study in the Malaria Journal suggests that chickens may be helpful in the fight against malaria. Unlike humans who in the United States last year consumed 90 pounds of chicken each, mosquitos are a bit fussier. Who knew?
Researchers have been able to identify a gene that determines maleness in mosquitoes, and if that were introduced into females it could potentially help wipe out the vector for the Zika virus infection. This method could also be applied to fighting other diseases such as yellow fever, Dengue and Chikungunya.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus has been declared a global public health crisis by the World Health Organization, but the agency did not say how to effectively fight it. One way would be to allow widespread use of DDT, which eradicated that same mosquito during the 20th century.
In Brazil, a new viral infection called Zika is doing great harm. It's causing an epidemic of severe birth defects, so much so that doctors are advising women to delay becoming pregnant. There is no treatment for it, although in non-pregnant victims the symptoms are not terribly severe.
Roughly 200 million people contract the malarial parasite annually, and in 2013 malaria was the cause of 500,000 deaths worldwide. According to a recent study, a new genetic engineering technique is showing great promise in eliminating the mosquitos that carry the deadly disease.
A new vaccine against malaria, a scourge especially in sub-Saharan Africa, shows that a series of three shots offers about 50 percent protection. It's one small-to-medium sized step toward a truly protective malaria vaccine, which would amount to saving many thousands of lives in the near term.
A recent online article attacks several Nobel Prize winners whose contributions to humanity saved many millions of lives.
The FDA and CDC are expressing concerns about the potential for rising rates of transfusion-associated infections, with both agencies calling for more testing and precautions. Cash-strapped blood banks are not nearly so concerned.
The holy grail of malaria prevention, a vaccine effective in preventing this devastating mosquito-borne parasitic disease, is one step closer to reality. The new GSK vaccine, RTS/S now called Mosquirix, provided significant albeit below-ideal levels of protection for infants and toddler, which will save thousands of lives.