In the second book of the Little House series (Little House on the Prairie), the Ingalls family comes down with malaria–or what they call fever ‘n’ ague–which is described this way:
Laura was so hot that everything seemed wavering…she did not exactly go to sleep, but she didn’t really wake up again for a long, long time. Strange things seemed to keep happening in a haze. She would see Pa crouching by the fire in the middle of the night, then suddenly sunshine hurt her eyes [...] Something dwindled slowly, smaller and smaller, till it was tinier than the tiniest thing. Then slowly it swelled till it was larger than anything could be…
and so on. It sounds awful, worse than the worst flu, but they get through it, partly because of the help of a neighbor and of a doctor (who, interestingly, is African-American and a doctor among the Native Americans).
They thought it came from breathing the night air, or, perhaps, from eating watermelons grown in the night air. But it was malaria.
Malaria was eradicated in the US in the early 1950s. But it daily kills 2,000 children worldwide, mainly in Africa. Today–World Malaria Day–recognizes global efforts to combat malaria.
Eradicating malaria is possible. We just have to want it very much. Here, from World Vision, are five things you can do to fight malaria:
1. Host a Night of Nets event.
Treated bed nets are simple and effective. Learn about them. Tell your friends.
2. Ask your members of Congress to contribute funds toward the fight against malaria.
3. Post, tweet, chat about World Malaria Day. Visit endmalaria.org.
5. Buy a net.
No one–least of all women and children, who are disproportionately affected–should die from a mosquito bite.