A symposium and two fundraising events will focus attention April 25 and 27 on one of the world's oldest and deadliest diseases during Malaria Awareness Week at the University of California, Davis.
Malaria, a parasitic disease transmitted by mosquitoes, is a serious public health problem in more than 100 countries, affecting more than 40 percent of the global population. In Africa, the disease is estimated to kill one child every 30 seconds.
"Worldwide, malaria causes some 350 million to 500 million illnesses annually, and more than 1 million people die from this disease each year," said medical entomologist Gregory Lanzaro, director of the UC Davis Center for Vectorborne Diseases. "It is particularly devastating in Africa, with children under age five and pregnant women being the most susceptible."
From noon to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, April 25, the Center for Vectorborne Disease will host a Malaria Awareness Day Symposium in UC Davis' Main Theatre, Wright Hall, spotlighting the severity of malaria, the history of malaria in California and the University of California's commitment to global health. The event will include opening remarks by UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef and presentations by researchers from UC Davis' School of Veterinary Medicine, School of Medicine and Department of Entomology in the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, as well as from the UC San Francisco School of Medicine. Speakers will discuss the history and socio-economic impact of malaria, provide an overview of current malaria-related research and suggest ways the public can help address the problem.
A complete schedule of symposium speakers is available online at <http://www.mrcg.ucdavis.edu/news/malariasymposium.html>.
Fundraisers to help prevent malaria
Two fundraising events also are scheduled for next week, during which the public can make donations to purchase bed nets to help protect against mosquitoes and prevent the spread of malaria. Event planners note that each $10 donation will purchase a bed net for one African family.
"We hope to draw students, staff, faculty, townspeople and symposium participants," said entomology graduate student Lisa Reimer, who is coordinating the fundraisers. Donations will go directly to the "Malaria No More Fund at Millennium Promise," according to Reimer, who conducted malaria-related mosquito research last summer in the West African nation of Mali.
* Wednesday, April 25, from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Davis Farmers Market -- The Center for Vectorborne Diseases will host a malaria information booth, displaying posters and a bed net. The Farmers Market is held at Central Park in Davis, located at the corner of 3rd and C streets.
* Friday, April 27, from 5 to 6 p.m. on UC Davis' West Quad area just south of the Memorial Union -- The UC Davis Entomology Graduate Student Association will host a fundraiser featuring Faso Baara, a Davis-based African drumming group that will perform traditional drumming. Posters and a bed net also will be displayed.
Faso Baara, formed in 2000 by master dancer and drummer Mamodou Sow of Davis, is a group of international entertainers with roots in Senegal, Turkey, Brazil, Iran, Uruguay and America. Sow studied and trained in dance, drum and stilt-walking at the Ecole des Arts in Dakar, Senegal, his native country. He began performing as a member of the school's Ballet Integration African.
More information about the fundraisers and Faso Baara is available online at <http://www.mrcg.ucdavis.edu/news/malariafundraisers.html>.
* Kathy Keatley Garvey, Entomology, (530) 754-6894, email@example.com
* Pat Bailey, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9843, firstname.lastname@example.org
* Mitchel Benson, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9844, email@example.com