Important medical news

To Avoid Malaria, Try Sleeping With A Chicken At Your Bedside

This study was done in Africa, with Anopheles arabiensis mosquitoes, and probably isn’t applicable to the southern United States; West Nile virus is transmitted by Aedes egyptii mosquitoes, which feed on birds. But, if you find yourself in sub-Saharan Africa, and don’t want to catch malaria, sleeping with a chicken may not be a bad idea.


Ebola Fight: Survivors’ Blood Doesn’t Help, But Malaria Drug Might

Since the latest Ebola outbreak began, researchers have renewed their search for an effective way to fight the deadly virus. Now, a new study finds that giving Ebola patients a drug that is currently used to treat malaria may lower their risk of dying from the virus by almost one-third. Meanwhile, a separate study finds that treating Ebola patients with blood plasma taken from Ebola survivors does not lower their risk of death.

Together, the findings show that when it comes to finding effective treatments for Ebola, there are still a lot of unknowns, and therefore, prevention and vaccine development remain key, experts say. Both findings are published online today (Jan. 6) in the New England Journal of Medicine.

[The result} translates to a 31 percent lower risk of death in the patients who took artesunate–amodiaquine, compared with those who took [artemether–lumefantrine].

The ultimate answer probably lies in good isolation techniques and an effective immunization.


What is the deadliest creature on earth?

It’s not sharks, or crocodiles, or even man, with our guns and bombs and deadly blow-darts.

Okay, we are second. But, according to Bill Gates’ blog, it is the mosquito, responsible for 725,000 deaths a year, 600,000 from malaria.

Strictly speaking, of course, that makes Plasmodium sp., the malaria-causing parasite transmitted by mosquitoes, the deadliest creature. But Gates is right, mosquito control would save many lives annually.

Thanks to Rachel Carson and others, the cheapest and most effective mosquito pesticide, DDT, is no longer available. My reading suggests that DDT is not as harmful to the environment as we were told in the 60’s and 70’s, and would save many thousands of lives per year.