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5 Super Surprising Facts About Malaria

We bet you didn’t know them!

Here are points about malaria that will make you raise your eyebrows.

5 Super Surprising Facts About Malaria

Photo: Tharakorn Arunothai/123rf.com

The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared Singapore malaria-free since 1982, but with more Singaporeans travelling overseas, the likelihood of catching this fatal disease is increased.

At least half a million people die from a simple mosquito bite a year, and hundreds of millions infected. In order to raise awareness about the disease in Asia, photographer Pearl Gan has teamed up with the Eijkman Oxford Clinical Research Unit in Jakarta to highlight the plight of minorities who are infected with malaria through a photo exhibition in partnership with The Wellcome Trust. It will be on from 2 to 29 September 2017 at the National Library Board. Ahead of that, here are some facts about malaria that will shock you:

1. It’s only transmitted by female mosquitoes

Only female mosquitoes drink blood, to feed their developing eggs, making them a deadly vehicle for transmitting the disease to humans, whereas males are comparatively tame, feeding on nectar from plants.

2. Drinking beer could increase chances of infection

Mosquitoes love the smell of beer, according to scientists at the University of Emory. So if you’re travelling to malaria-infected countries, steer clear of beer as it makes you smell irresistible to mozzies.

3. Fake anti-malaria drugs kill thousands of people each year

The World Health Organization has estimated that around 20 per cent of the one million deaths caused by malaria annually can be blamed on counterfeit drugs.

4. It can take years to develop malaria symptoms

Rarer strains of the disease lie dormant. It can take months or even years before you get ill. In exceptionally rare cases malaria sufferers have fallen ill fours years after being infected.

5. Malaria-carrying mosquitoes behave like vampires

Just like Count Dracula, female mosquitoes risk at dusk and embark on a blood-sucking binge until dawn, passing on the disease through their deadly bite.

A version of this story first appeared on The Singapore Women’s Weekly website.

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