Tag Archives: Malaria

De verborum notatio morbi – On the etymology of diseases

I find that the more we understand about the world, the less imaginative our names for diseases. Your stomach hurts? We can look at your blood work, X-ray your gut after a barium meal and, hey presto, you have appendicitis. LAME! Maybe you’ve got The Irritable Ghosts and what’s happening is that the ghosts that are inhabting your scrotum are banging on the roof because your lungs are too loud. Treatment is shutting up and dying prematurely. Let’s explore the names of other diseases.


My Latin dictionary is not only useful for DotW article photos, but also if I suddenly get transported into Ancient Rome (Picture taken by Thomas Tu)

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Malaria – The Great Human Scourge

I thought it was about time to leave bacteria and viruses behind for a week to look at disease caused by a very different micro-organism, Malaria. In fact by looking at malaria we can cover two diseases in one week by also looking at the effect of Sickle Cell Anaemia. It’s hard to overestimate the impact malaria has had on human populations over time but some perspective can be gained by observing that the WHO decided to try eradicating it in 1955. We gave up in 1976 because it was resistant to all our attacks and still kills nearly 100,000 people every year but it’s suspected that many deaths go unrecorded.

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