— Half a billion cases of malaria occur every year, more than 60 percent in Africa.
— Four Nobel Prizes honored malaria-related work, including discovery of the parasite and mosquito vector and development of DDT.
— Doctors in the 1920s treated syphilis by infecting patients with malaria to induce high fever and kill syphilis bacteria.
— To avoid being filtered out by the spleen, malaria parasites can cause infected blood cells to latch onto the walls of capillaries, disrupting blood flow and damaging organs including the brain and kidneys.
— Malaria makes mosquitoes sick, too: Infected females lay fewer eggs and are less vigorous than their noninfected sisters.
— One type of malaria parasite latches onto the placenta, robbing both mother and fetus of blood and causing miscarriage or low-birth-weight babies.
— Plasmodium vivax, a malaria parasite common in Asia and the Americas, has a dormant stage that hides in the liver and can trigger recurrent bouts of the disease.
— The anti-malarial effect of Chinese wormwood, the main ingredient of many modern malaria drugs, was first described in the second century.
— In the 17th century, Jesuit missionaries in South America reported bark from chinchona trees could cure malaria; Europeans launched clandestine expeditions to steal some of the trees, later found to be the source of quinine.
— U.S. Presidents George Washington, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln and Ulysses S. Grant suffered bouts of malaria.
— The World Health Organization recently endorsed spraying of DDT in African homes to kill malaria mosquitoes. The insecticide fell into disuse for several decades over concern about its ecological impacts.
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