January 29th, 2009

as we stumble along...


Malaria.

That’s my new favorite word.

No, I do not have malaria, but pretty much everyone in my village does, and it’s the focus of my education work in Corazon these days. The statistics for last year show that we’ve had 64 cases, making it the number three village in all of Belize.

 

If you don’t know anything about malaria, it’s still very widespread in the western world, and billions of dollars are being used to research eradication methods.

 

It’s caused by a small parasitic animal, neither bacteria nor virus, which first invades the human liver and then spreads, causing high fevers, chills, and delirium.

 

The only way to get malaria is to be bitten by an infected Aedes Aegypti mosquito, who in turn became infected by feeding on an infected human.

 

So the best ways to stop the spread of malaria are to reduce mosquito numbers/avoid getting bitten; and if you are infected, to take all of your medicine, for the full dosage period. The medicine used is Chloroquine phosphate, a quinine derivative which tastes nasty and needs to be taken every day for exactly two weeks.

Annoying. So people don’t want to do it; and so they don’t get fully cured, and the disease can pick up momentum and spread.