World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day

World Malaria Day is a holiday designed to increase awareness about the related deadly disease. This holiday is supported by the World Health Organization (WHO), and it occurs on April 25th of every year. While this day doesn’t incorporate an atmosphere of celebration as other holidays do, World Malaria Day is regarded as a crucial day to help promote education and preventive measures to protect people around the globe. WHO estimates that malaria causes an average of 655,000 deaths, many of which may be prevented with increased awareness.

Malaria Defined

Malaria is an infection spread by mosquitoes. It is directly caused by a parasite called Plasmodium, which attacks the body’s healthy red blood cells. While this isn’t a modern disease by any means, it was better understood by the 18th century, when scientists made the connection between mosquito bites and subsequent illnesses.

At first, those infected exhibit typical flu symptoms that can include fever, chills, vomiting, diarrhea and extreme fatigue. Unlike a minor flu strain, however, malaria causes severe symptoms that last for several days. In fact, some patients may develop jaundice that causes a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Malaria can be deadly once it spreads through the body, causing organ failure, coma and seizures. Treatment is crucial, as the infection is deadly without medical intervention. In some cases, malaria is still deadly despite rapid treatments.

Locations

While malaria can infect people anywhere, cases are most common in tropical areas where mosquitoes run rampant. There doesn’t seem to be as many cases in warmer regions of the United States, due to the many control methods over the mosquito population. Local communities spray chemicals over the land during mosquito season, and many residents have easy access to repellants.

However, such control methods aren’t as common in other areas of the world, such as Central America and Africa. For this reason, malaria cases are higher compared to other regions. Visitors and travelers are just as susceptible as local peoples. Supporters of World Malaria Day hope that knowledge can help increase methods of mosquito control and protection, thereby reducing cases of malaria.

History

World Malaria Day was founded in 2007 by WHO, which is the United Nations’ leading panel on global health. During this time there was also a surge in worldwide malaria cases. Many countries jumped on board to help WHO with efforts for malaria awareness. The United States, Uganda, Germany and Switzerland are just a few of the examples of active participants in the holiday. Since the first holiday was held in 2008, it has been held on April 25th every year.

While the United States participates in World Malaria Day, the government does not recognize April 25th as a public holiday. This means that all banks, schools and other government institutions are all open.

Celebrations and Observations

Education is at the core of World Malaria Day. The more that people understand malaria, the better they are equipped to ward off the disease. This can include simple measures, such as protecting yourself against mosquito bites. Furthermore, learning the symptoms of malaria can help save lives.

In some countries, people do not have access to mosquito repellants and localized control methods. On World Malaria Day, some supporters hose fundraisers to gain money needed to help communities pay for these crucial protection methods. Others may petition local politicians to urge changes to reduce malaria in various communities around the globe.



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