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Malaria

from Keep-well Stories For Little Folks





You remember, John, I told you about the "wiggle-tails," or baby
mosquitoes, in the rain barrel, and how eager my mother was to put oil
on the water and kill them.

Well, Mother told me a long story about the baby mosquitoes and what
they do when they are grown up. She said that mosquitoes carry malaria,
or chills, from one person to another.

Don't you remember when we had chills last summer and Uncle John had to
come to see us and give us some medicine? Mother says that was because
some grown mosquito had bitten a person who had chills, and while
sucking that person's blood the mosquito had sucked into her bill some
malaria poison; then later when she bit us, she punched some of that
poison into our blood, while she was getting a supper from our blood.
The mosquito's bill is as sharp as one of Uncle John's knives.

Mother told me that a long time ago, when the English came to Virginia,
they settled at Jamestown, and they were afraid of the Indians, the
bears, and the panthers that could hide in the forest near-by.

The English did not know it, but they had a more deadly enemy then at
Jamestown than the Indians and the panthers. This enemy was so small
they could not see it, and then, too, they had not learned about it as
we are learning now. This enemy was the little germ or parasite that
causes malaria.

Mother says that it is easy to fight an enemy when it is out in the
open. The settlers knew only that many of their people got sick and
died. This was because there were many mosquitoes there, and these
mosquitoes bit them, and put these poisonous enemies into their blood.
But they did not know that the mosquitoes were the cause of the great
number of deaths in the colony.

All this happened many years ago. I believe the English thought their
old enemy, the Dragon, of which they had heard so much, but which they
could not see, had come to this new land.

We can know the mosquito that carries malaria because she looks as if
she is trying to stand on her head when she lights on anything. It seems
queer that the female mosquito is the only one which poisons us with
malaria. Perhaps the male mosquito cannot bite, because he has so many
feathery plumes on his bill.

The mosquito and the germ of malaria, which is carried from one person
to another, killed far more white people than the Indians or the wild
animals did.

Not many years ago, a very clever man found out that the mosquito
carried malaria, for, without her, the germs could never get into our
blood.

Mother says that the way for us to stop malaria is for us to kill all
the mosquitoes, and the best way to kill them off is to do so when they
are little "wiggle-tails" or "wigglers." She says the best way of all,
though, is never to have any standing water around where the mosquito
can lay her eggs.



I am going to kill every mosquito I see. Mother says I can tell the one
that carries malaria, because she is always trying to stand on her head
like this.

I'll tell you, let's have a "Mosquito and Fly Brigade." You can be the
Captain. All the little boys and girls in our classes can march under
our colors, and we will make war on every fly and mosquito in the
neighborhood, and stop the children and grown people from having
malaria. Mother says sickness costs a lot of money--many millions of
dollars every year.

We will be little soldiers while all the country is at peace, but we
will wage a battle royal against these very small but strong enemies,
and we will win.

Our motto will be, "To prevent is better than to cure."


QUESTIONS

1. What causes malaria?

2. Can you tell the difference between the
mosquito that carries malaria and the one that is
called the house mosquito?

3. Where do the mosquitoes feed?

4. What caused so many of the early settlers in
the Old Dominion (Virginia) to die?

5. Which was their greatest enemy, Indians, wild
animals, or malaria?

6. How much does malaria cost?

7. Can we prevent malaria? How?

8. What medicine will cure malaria?

9. Is it better to cure a disease or to prevent
it?

10. Where was quinine first gotten?

11. If a person has malaria, how may we prevent
other persons from getting it?

12. Have you a "Fly and Mosquito Brigade" in your
school, or will you have one?





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