Dr. Jenna joins Joe, Kevin, and Toren to look at the mosquito-borne peril of malaria. We discuss the life cycle of the this protist parasite from mosquito to human and back again, tales of a recent outbreak, and news of a promising new treatment strategy.

Music: “Heebee Jeebies” by The Boswell Sisters

Charity O’ The Week: Nothing But Nets Campaign



8 Responses

  1. Interesting to hear Dr. Jenna’s experience with Doxycycline. I’m surprised it’s recommended as an antimalaricum – it’s also the first choice antibiotic for bacterial infections. I used to take it with a combination of Metronidazole for Lyme disease. And Metronidazole (as in Flagyl) actually is described as an antiprotozoal drug. Hey, cool! 🙂 I was protected from malaria all this time!
    Also, in addition to a funny feeling in the stomach (which went away for me in a couple of weeks. I’m told it also helps if you take it on full stomach, although the effectiveness of the drug is lesser then.) it makes some people’s skin more sensitive to sunburn, so wearing long sleeves and using sunscreen while on Doxy is recommended even in mild climate.

    Lastly – I would’ve probably picked the intravenous treatment. As far as antibiotics go, the effective amount of the drug that gets into the body is usually larger intravenously than it is absorbed orally.
    (I underwent a month of Ceftriaxone intravenously every day and boy did I feel great. :D, at least compared to the oral Doxycycline.)

    1. My brother deployed to Afghanistan last year, and they just give everybody there Doxycycline prohylactically. Pale dudes with sensitive stomachs on Doxycycline working outside and training for a marathon throughout the Afghan summer are not going to have a good time. He said almost everybody he knew quit taking within a month.

    1. Well, you were partly right regarding the Quokka – they do indeed live on a small island off the Australian coastline XD

  2. I really enjoyed this episode. I find parasites disturbingly fascinating. I have a couple of other cool things about malaria and the treatment of. In the old days people were told to take quinine until their ears rang, which is an extra weird side effect.
    Malaria also used to exist through even larger parts of the world, like the US, Italy and even England, but was eradicated. Now that anti-malarial drugs are losing their effectiveness and DDT has been banned there is some growing worry that it will make a come back.
    Keep up the great work!

  3. For some reason when you mentioned contraception for mosquitoes I imagined tiny, tiny condoms and very worn out scientists applying them. Is it just me, or is it what I’ve come to expect?

    Great ep and I loved the out-takes at the end. 🙂

  4. So I made a beer bet with a friend that you can’t catch malaria from just one bite because I remembered from the episode that you said it can take around 100 bites from infected mosquitoes to develop the disease…but I can’t find anything on the internet to back this up and I so want win this bet! Where did that tidbit come from? Everything I find says it just takes one bite.