|MadSci Network: Medicine|
Hey Jafar The best information on polio and malaria can be found by searching the World Health Orgainization site (http://www.who.org) Also, check out http://www.polioeradication.org OR http://www.malaria.org Poliomyelitis (polio) is caused by one of three closely related viruses, which can invade the central nervous system. It is usually cleared (~95% of time) without major symptoms developing--only a small portion of infections results in paralysis. It is spread by the fecal oral-route (ie wash your hands in endemic areas). An effective vaccine is available and has reduced the incidents of polio to ~7000/year--primarily in South Asia and Central / Western Africa Malaria can be caused by four different strains of a protozoan pathogen-- the most lethal of which is called Plasmodium falciparum. The pathogen is spread by mosquito feeding, primarily in Africa, South America, and South Asia. It invades your red blood cells and can cause a loss of these cells (anemia), but the major cause of death is a clumping of infected red blood cells in the brain's blood vessels, cutting off oxygen. There is no vaccine against malaria, and it remains one of the leading causes of death by infectious disease in the world. Approximately two million people die/year--mostly children. Imagine 7 jumbo jet airplanes full of children crashing EVERY DAY and you'll get the current impact of this disease. Hope this helps, thanks for the question Michael Crawford
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