[The following is an exact transcript of this podcast.]
About 10 years ago, I followed some researchers waist deep into the waters of the Everglades. In the middle of the night. We kept a vigilant eye out for alligators and for venomous snakes. But the animals that actually posed the greatest danger were mosquitoes. Which were transmitting encephalitis that season.
I’m telling that story because August 20th is World Mosquito Day. (party horn sound) Actually, it’s not a day to celebrate. More like an awareness day. Ronald Ross of the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine originated World Mosquito Day in 1897. He’s the guy who figured out that mosquitoes carried the malaria parasite. He got one of the first Nobel Prizes for it in 1902.
But mosquitoes and the diseases they carry remain huge problems. Malaria alone kills more than a million people every year, mostly kids. Anybody can help in the fight by making sure there’s no standing water around, where mosquitoes love to breed. For more info, check out the American Mosquito Control Association, at www.mosquito.org
When did malaria first start afflicting humans? See The Origin of Human Malaria