Scientists in past centuries called the sickness by the Italian phrase 'malaria' — or 'bad air' — for the supposedly disease-bearing zephyrs wafting from swamps.
These days, scientists know malaria is spread by mosquitos. // And they say ill winds are buffeting their attempts to halt the spread of a disease that kills 1 million people a year, AP reports.
'We need to stress that the situation is bad. The number of deaths are rising, infections are rising,' said Pierre Druilhe, head of the biomedical unit at France's Pasteur Institute.
Scientists say it could take more than 10 years before a fully effective malaria vaccine is approved for use.
Hundreds of malaria experts gathered this week in Yaounde, Cameroon, for a conference on the disease. And while many scientists described solid recent advancements and reason for cautious optimism, others said the news isn't good for Africa.
While malaria has been all but eradicated in wealthy nations, scientists say they're hindered in Africa by twin hurdles: insecticide resistance in mosquitoes and drug resistance in the parasite.
Malaria is spread by mosquitoes and causes wracking pain, fever and, if left untreated, death. It kills more African children than any other disease, and is the leading cause of death of those under 5 in sub-Saharan Africa.
African poverty means few buyers for even relatively inexpensive insecticide-treated bed nets, so many companies shy away from producing them, scientists say. And anti-malarial drugs can be costly.
Malaria prevention is 'in trouble,' Brian Greenwood of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine said by telephone from Cameroon.
For Greenwood, the main problem is increased resistance to drugs, particularly the longtime mainstay, chloroquine, which is relatively cheap to produce in mass quantities.
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