Gardening Could be a Powerful Weapon Against Malaria

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Malaria is a mosquito-bore disease cause by parasitic protozoans belonging to the Plasmodium group. Parasite is released into the blood stream of human through mosquito bite. Once parasite transmits from the saliva of mosquito to the blood steam of human, it will travel to the liver, where they mature and reproduce. Within 48 to 72 hours, the parasites inside the red blood cells multiply, causing the infected cells to burst open. The infection of red blood cell will continue and results in the symptom that occurs in cycle for another 2 to 3 day.

Malaria is typically diagnosed by the microscopic examination of blood using blood films, or with antigen-based rapid diagnostic tests. Methods that use the polymerase chain reaction to detect the parasite’s DNA have been developed, but are not widely used in areas where malaria is common due to their cost and complexity.

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Prosopis juliflora shrub is an invasive plant and now occupies millions of hectares of the African continent. The shrub was native to South and Central American and it was introduced into Africa in an attempt to reverse deforestation. Many researchers believe that Prosopis juliflora shrub serve as feeding ground for malaria-transmitting mosquitoes.

 

On July 5th 2017, Experts resident in Mali paired up with researchers around the world to set up horticultural experiment and to see if removing of the plant will aid in reduce the mosquitoes population. They chose nine villages and six of village were occupied with shrub and three without as control. They hacked down flowering shrub in three of the six villages. The removal of the flowering shrub causes the three villages to decrease the mosquito’s population by nearly 60%, which matches, with the low mosquito population in village without the shrub.

 

The researchers were not able to make a clear and direct coordination with the shrub and the mosquito population. It is possible that the reduce population maybe the result of starvation. Prof Jo Lines, a malaria control expert from the London School of Hygiene, says the novel approach holds amazing potential, alongside other malaria prevention strategies. This experiment was able to show that by gardening, we were able to make a difference without the use of insecticide.

In this experiment, the research was not able to reach a meaningful conclusion that links the flowering shrub with the mosquitoes. I think this experiment can still be important, because it show the method of mosquito control in a different light. The change of landscape was able to make a difference.

 

Reference

http://www.bbc.com/news/health-40495958

https://www.cdc.gov/malaria/

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