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The Good and the Bad Guys.

October 27, 2010 - 11:09 -- Patrick Sampao

After a long stint, I finally managed to go home for a visit last weekend. Its been raining in Nairobi over the last few days so there are puddles of water here and there and my home is no exception. You already know am going to talk about mosquitoes and malaria well yes I am.

It's just after dinner and we are in the living room watching television but every now and then someone slaps a mosquito, though I honestly think they missed the target for the better part of the evening.

As for me i have my hood on so am well shielded. My cousin is elated when he catches one napping on the wall and hits it. Jokingly i tell him, "that mosquito was innocent" everyone who seems to be having a rough time warding the mosquitoes off stares at me with astonished faces. Before anyone says a word I say “are u aware that out of all the mosquitoes in this room there is a possibility that none of them transmits malaria?

Now everyone stops and listens. At this point am then confronted with so many whys and hows. So I embark on a small mosquito crush course explaining how its only the female anopheles that can transmit malaria, and that there are many mosquito species but the anopheles is responsible for most deaths.

What fascinates most people in the room is getting to know that the male mosquitoes do not partake of blood meals or in simpler terms, they don’t bite us. “Quite some gentlemen these are”, my 13 year old cousin says. Her heart is however broken when I tell her that male mosquitoes only live for a week or so as they die soon after they play their breeding role.

The youngest in the room who had been on a mosquito hunting spree that evening says he doesn’t want to kill the innocent ones anymore. So he asks how he can tell the bad guys from the good ones. I tell him, “am not sure but I will find out, for now slap the ones that come to bite you” And I say to myself maybe malariaworld members can give me a better answer.

I go on to explain why the mosquito is the world’s most dangerous killer in the planet. I tell them venomous snakes are the second most dangerous animals yet all their fatalities combined do not surpass those of the mosquito. In fact the fatalities of the top ten most dangerous animals combined still do not beat the deaths caused by mosquitoes.

Surprisingly most of them know quite a bit about snakes, hippos, lions and scorpions some of the animals that make the top ten list of the worlds most dangerous killers. As we debate on the same issue, man is mentioned but it is anonymously agreed that he should not be on that list.

As Christmas holidays draw nearer, how about we take some time to share some malaria and mosquito basics with our family members.


Ingeborg van Schayk's picture
Submitted by Ingeborg van Schayk on

Thanks Patrick, I enjoyed reading your story. Now I am curious... is the whole family sleeping under a bednet?

Submitted by Guest (not verified) on

Thank you Patrick, Malaria in Africa is still a big problem especially in expectant mothers, HIV patients and new born babies. The idea of mosquitoes nets would be good one but with corrption in most African states it becames hard to reach the intented affected people and theft of drugs , oh God , its anight mare. Its not so different down here in Uganda.


Submitted by Guest (not verified) on

Patrick! you raised a very good point. Another example; my mom, who thought that dengue virus is spread by the scales that fall off from mosquito wings.