(CTN News) – Having joined 41 other countries, Belize has been declared malaria-free by the World Health Organization – but what can other countries do to follow Belize’s example?
Belize has spent more than 70 years trying to eradicate malaria through public health measures through the efforts of Trinity Professor Luke O’Neill.
He said on the show Show Me the Science that public health has played an extremely important role in the area. In order to keep an eye on the situation, many healthcare workers were trained to keep an eye on it to see if malaria breaks out somewhere and then give people antimalarials as soon as it breaks out.
In addition to using these nets, you can also use insecticides to impregnate the nets, so that they will kill off mosquitoes in general, thus killing them out.
“They would install these nets in places where there was malaria, and the mosquitoes would simply die whenever they were able to carefully place these nets in places where there was malaria.”
The spread of malaria in the world
It has been reported that cases are now being reported in parts of the US, and Prof O’Neill believes this has a lot to do with climate change.
As a result of global warming, the mosquito’s range is changing, and they are spreading because of the higher temperatures, which is a result of the mosquitoes spreading malaria.
There is no doubt that mosquitoes are drawn to warm climates and, as we have seen in the past, these mosquitoes are now breeding more and more in areas where they would not normally breed.
‘It can cause enormous damage’
According to Prof O’Neill, this could mean that we are seeing an increase in cases in the usual places where occurs.
According to him, mosquitoes bite you and spread parasites in your bloodstream, which in turn leads to malaria, a disease that can cause a great deal of harm in the long run.
He explained that “[Malaria] spends some of its time living in your liver and some of its time living in your red blood cells,” he said.
As mentioned, it starts off with flu-like symptoms, then you get aches and pains all over your body. As the disease progresses, you get worse and worse symptoms, including severe vomiting, severe diarrhoea, and even anaemia as it targets the red blood cells.
‘Desperately in need of handling’
According to Professor O’Neill, malaria can cause kidney failure and seizures, as well as eventually death if left untreated.
“Unfortunately, it’s mostly children who are affected,” he said. The immune system of these people is not capable of fighting the parasite that they have.
Quite a number of people survive malaria and go on to live a healthy life… yet there is an alarming amount of individuals who unfortunately become severely ill, which is why control is so crucial.”