Took a week off last week for the July 4th Independence Day Holiday in the U.S., though I wasn’t expecting to. So today, we’ll get back to it!
I was fascinated last weekend reading an article of students winning an international award for making soap that they say repels the mosquitoes that cause malaria in Africa.
Dubbed “Fasoap,” the innovation was awarded the $25,000 Grand Prize in the Global Social Venture Competition (GSVC), in April. Launched by Berkeley MBA students, the GSVC is a global competition designed to help budding entrepreneurs transform their ideas into businesses that will have a positive social impact. Fasoap is made from shea butter, essential lemongrass oil, local-sourced herbs and other ingredients that are still a secret.
“After using the soap, it leaves on the skin a scent that repels mosquitoes,” says one of the inventors. They’ve already started a company to produce the soap.
Malaria is a disease, which is caused by parasites that are spread to humans through the bites of infected mosquitoes. It presents in a patient with symptoms similar to flu-like symptoms that typically include fever and headache. In severe cases, the illness can progress to coma or death. The disease is widespread in tropical and subtropical regions around the equator, including much of Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia and Americas. If you travel to these areas, you want to be sure you have preventative medication and sleep under a mosquito net.
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About half of the world’s population is at risk of malaria, according to the World Health Organization. The disease’s impact is mostly felt in the world’s poorest countries; in 2010, there were an estimated 660,000 malaria deaths, 90% of which occurred in sub-Saharan Africa, mostly among children under five years old.
Getting a blood sample and looking at the red blood cell is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis.
Methods used to prevent malaria include medications, mosquito elimination and the prevention of bites. With proper treatment, the parasite will eventually disappear from that area, as happened in North America, Europe and much of the Middle East. However, unless the parasite is eliminated from the whole world, it could come back.Getting a blood sample and looking at the red blood cell is the gold standard for malaria diagnosis.
The Orange County Vector Control District (OCVCD) is charged with controlling vectors like mosquitoes in our area – http://www.ocvcd.org/mosquitoes2.php. You may hear them in the news warning about mosquitoes and birds that carry West Nile Virus.
All images from Wikipedia, and verified in the public domain.