Malaria is disease caused by Plasmodium parasites. Plasmodia are transmitted between humans by the bite of an Anopheles mosquito that carries the parasite. When Plasmodium parasites enter the human bloodstream, they travel to the liver and reproduce quickly. Symptoms are fever, chills, body aches, vomiting and if not addressed quickly can result in anemia, brain damage and death.
When you think of Malaria, you often don't think of the United States, however this disease has affected people since the beginning of human history. Back in the 1940's, it was such a problem that Disney created a short film entitled "The Winged Scourge" seen below.
Today, half the world's population is at risk. The vast majority of malaria cases and malaria-related deaths occur in sub-Saharan Africa, according to the World Health Organization which has called this region "the heartland of malaria." Children are the hardest hit. According to Unicef 85% of those who die from malaria are under the age of 5. This year alone 800,000 children will die.
Vaccines for malaria have been in the works for some time. Clinical trials have been done, however results have not yet been significant. Medication can be taken to suppress the disease from presenting, however it is too expensive for those that are hit the hardest. These people barely have money to feed their families.
This week, two babies from the orphanage we will be joining in a few short months were taken to the hospital. One of those babies had a severe case of malaria and was put on an IV. Education, preventative measures (mosquito nets, repellents) and early detection are key in saving the lives of children. I ask that you please pray for these babies, Paco and Christiane. They are stable and improving, but things can turn so very quickly.
Love and Blessings!