ARRgghhhhh! Mosquitos everywhere! The animal responsible for causing the most human fatalities, new technologies can diminish malaria infection rates.
There must be something about me that mosquitos love. In the last week, I’ve been stung innumerable times in all manner of places (we won’t get specific here). While Ned Flanders may find them fun to scratch (and there is some sense of pleasure in scratching a bite), they are extremely irritating. Hydrocortisone doesn’t seem to dull the itching sensation nor does After-Bite. But more than discomfort, mosquitos spread a number of diseases, the most common of which is malaria. In most instances, malaria is not life threatening. In fact, if caught early, it is quite treatable. However, I’ve heard that malaria infections cause excruciating pain, like influenza on crack. You get this horrible bone, muscle and joint pain, high fever, chills, vomiting…suffice it to say, it’s not something you want to experience. Anti-malarials are proven to some extent but can cause havoc on your liver and immune system and are not 100% effective as new strains emerge. While they are great short term solutions, in the long term they are perhaps no better than the disease itself. Anti-malarial bed nets have been proven to be effective but of course there are limitations to their usefulness (i.e. you have to under one to be protected). What I’ve never understood is why, given our propensity to kill of other species (a trait I’m not proud of), we haven’t figured out a way to kill these little fuc…. erm… parasites off once and for all. EDIT: Apparently killing off all mosquitos would have little ecological impact. Proof.
Which leads me to the next best thing. If we can’t kill off mosquitos, then perhaps we can repel them. Kite is an anti-malarial like no other. A small patch attached to articles of clothing, it has the potential to cast a bubble of protection, much like the deflector shields on board Federation starships. Testing of these patches will begin in Uganda and I sure hope to God that they find their way quickly throughout the region once their efficacy has been proven. Below is a video on this new tech. Here’s a great article on it as well. Kite is currently seeking distribution funding through Indiegogo. You can find information on this here.