When summer comes to an end each year, there is always a bit of a whirlwind of activity, especially when it comes to packing up your items and heading for your first year of college. While it is fun to imagine what your dorm room will look like, there are other things that you also should be considering, like vaccination against meningitis.
Every culture subscribes to some form of superstition when it comes to disease. When passed down from generation to generation, these beliefs become a part of the people and what makes them so unique. Indian culture, in specific, has a rich and vast belief system, filled with storied histories and colorful tales.
Chickenpox happens to be associated with a myriad of superstitions worldwide, be it through tall tales, religious texts, or even holistic medicines used as a panacea for the dreaded virus.
Every year, between 140,000 and 710,000 people are hospitalized because of influenza. But the best armor that we can use against the flu is to be prepared for it. That way, should you or a family member come down with the flu, you are ready for it. There are plenty of ways that we can make ourselves ready for the upcoming flu season.
Mosquitoes have been considered more than a simple annoyance to humanity for years. They’re responsible for unleashing deadly diseases all over the world. One of those diseases is yellow-fever a protozoan pathogen responsible for a staggering amount of illness and death. And in the typical fascinating style of the natural world, the mosquito and malaria are working together. This symbiosis is much to their benefit – and our detriment.
Contrary to viruses like dengue or Zika, malaria is actually a microscopic parasite. Malaria is often found in mosquitoes living in Southeast Asia or Sub-Saharan Africa. And malaria is responsible for anywhere between one to three million deaths every year. More often than not, the victims are young African children.
You might consider something like a parasite to cause problems in their hosts, but malaria ends up doing the exact opposite in their mosquito homes. Malaria gives mosquitoes the heightened ability to find hosts, such as humans, through the smell of blood. And malaria works so well with mosquitoes that it even improves their functions. Mosquitoes are granted superpowers like more robust immune systems, better physical health, and improved reproductive ability.
Their alarming ability to “stay young” because of malaria means that older mosquitoes infected with the pathogen will continue to reproduce and seek out hosts well into their lives compared to uninfected mosquitoes. This reprogramming of the mosquito’s brain could be the missing link to fighting off malaria and keeping the mosquitoes that are infected from replicating the disease. And now that a link has been discovered between the two, scientists can start taking new approaches towards battling the illness and the mosquitoes.
Because these infected mosquitoes are more hungry for blood, malaria-infested mosquitoes are much more likely to cause more bites, increasing the chances of passing down their malaria to humans. Since the increase in feeding and reproduction benefits both the pathogen and the insect, it’s safe to say that their relationship is incredibly symbiotic. It will take much more research to determine if breaking up their relationship is possible.
There doesn’t seem to be a cut-and-dry solution to separating this deadly duo. But now that scientists better understand their relationship, it’s becoming much easier to develop new mosquito repellent options to help keep people safe from malaria. And the more we can keep diseased mosquitoes away from their food source, the more human precious lives we can save.
Passport Health provides antimalarials, repellents and more to individuals traveling throughout the globe. Call or book online to schedule your appointment today.
Written for Passport Health by CJ Darnieder. CJ is a freelance writer and editor in Chicago. He is an avid lover of classical music and stand-up comedy and loves to write both in his spare time.
Yellow fever is a virus transmitted by the Aedes aegypti mosquito. It spreads between humans through the bite of an infected mosquito. Globally, the disease affects about 200,000 people each year. Scientists have searched for numerous ways to eliminate this disease, but there is no cure. While there is no way to eradicate yellow fever right now, researchers are still studying it and seeking possible solutions today.