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A narrated presentation that examines the history of malaria, looking at the universality of a disease that has touched -and will continue to touch- many nations around the world


The disease that we now call malaria has been around ever since there were mosquitoes. For the past 4000 years, people have referred to this disease in medical writings of one type or the other. Its name comes from the Italian term malaria, or bad air, so called because people noted that cases of the disease often clustered around swamps that they felt were full of bad air.

In modern times, malaria continues to affect millions of people each year, especially in underdeveloped countries in the southern hemisphere.

Some scientists say that climate change is playing a major role in this situation. The number of places where conditions provide optimal habitats for mosquitoes has grown significantly. As a result, people who have not been exposed to the mosquitoes and the malaria they bring along with them (and have not developed a natural immunity to malaria) are now at risk for contracting the disease.

In this interactive we often refer to “animals and insects” despite the fact that insects are animals. This is to differentiate animal (usually mammal) hosts from insect vectors.

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Learning Objective

After working with this presentation, students will be able to discuss the course of malaria and identify factors that lead to its increased range and the increased range of other vector borne diseases.

Standards Addressed
Can be used with existing lesson plans on

History of disease; diseases and their transmission; malaria; insects; mosquitoes; general biology

Additional ways to use this asset to enrich your curriculum
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