Saturday, August 15, 2009


8. Malaria

The CDC tells us “malaria is a mosquito-borne disease caused by a parasite. People with malaria often experience fever, chills, and flu-like illness. Left untreated, they may develop severe complications and die. Each year 350-500 million cases of malaria occur worldwide, and over one million people die.” Most of the deaths are the most vulnerable amongst us; nearly 90% of deaths occur in young children living in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The disease is vector-borne, (transmitted by mosquitoes) and Americans are generally exposed only while traveling to exotic locales. Malaria medication, insecticides, and fresh bed nets can reduce the risk of infection significantly.

9. SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome)

The CDC describes SARS as a feverishly “viral respiratory illness caused by a coronavirus, called SARS-associated coronavirus (SARS-CoV). SARS was first reported in China in February 2003. Over the next few months, the illness spread to more than two-dozen countries in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. According to the WHO, “a total of 8,098 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak. Of these, 774 died.

In the United States, only eight people had laboratory evidence of SARS-CoV infection. All of the infected people had traveled to other parts of the world affected by SARS. Chinese scientists believe that the disease-jumped species from the civet cat to humans after the “cats” were eaten as food. The civet cat is a carnivorous mammalian animal similar to a cat but with a pointed muzzle not unlike a mongoose or otter.

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