April 25th was World Malaria Day, which recognizes the efforts around the world to try to control the disease that is spread by infected mosquitos.
According to the World Health Organization, (WHO), approximately half of the world's population in 2010 (roughly 3.3 billion people) were at risk of malaria. Every year, an estimated 655,000 deaths are attributed to malaria and the WHO points out that “people living in the poorest countries are the most vulnerable”.
Great strides have been made to combat malaria transmission throughout Central and South America including a 52% drop in the number of cases and 57 % decrease in deaths in 2008 according to the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO). Nevertheless, residents in areas such as the Amazon region in Brazil, Colombia’s Pacific coast and the island of Hispaniola are highly susceptible to malaria infection and death.
The following video from the PAHO examines several methods used to combat malaria without the use of pesticides like DDT. One of the keys to malaria prevention, as seen in the video, is promoting active community participation:
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention noted that 35 countries (30 in sub-Saharan Africa and 5 in Asia) account for a whopping 98% of global malaria deaths.
Video Source – YouTube via the Pan-American Health Organization
Online Sources - World Health Organization, Pan-American Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control