While the mosquitoborne Zika virus is the latest reason to avoid flying bloodsuckers, it’s certainly not the only one. Malaria, yellow fever and West Nile virus continue to plague us, even as the Zika threat hogs the headlines. Malaria is still the deadliest of the mosquito-borne diseases, killing more than 1 million people every year. Although it’s been eradicated in the United States, malaria remains a risk to 40 percent of the world’s population. Yellow fever occurs only in tropical areas of Africa and the Americas, and vaccines are e?ective. But yellow fever still kills 30,000 people per year. In the United States, West Nile virus took hold in 1999, and as of 2014, 1,538 people in the U.S. had died from brain swelling caused by the virus. Avoiding bites is the only surefire way to avoid these and other diseases transmitted by mosquitos. Experts say to cover up with long sleeves, pants and closed shoes when you’ll be in mosquitodense areas and to use insect repellents with oil of lemon eucalyptus, deet or picaridin.
Please Add Water
Water scarcity is a much larger problem than we thought, according to a new study published in the journal Science Advances. Researchers found that 4 billion people, nearly two-thirds of the world’s population, have trouble getting usable water at least one month a year. To relieve the shortages, researchers suggest improving irrigation e?ciency, updating infrastructure to reduce water waste and limiting population growth in the driest regions.
United Nations member countries recently adopted the Sustainable Development Goals to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. The goals are a rallying cry for governments, the private sector, civil society and individuals. Heifer embraces all the goals, but numbers 1, 2 and 8 are our favorites.