We had the malaria police around today. Where we live is a foco de malaria (malaria hotspot), and we are subject to weekly visits from the malaria police, who advise about what to do or not do during this particular season. As the water level goes down, shallow pools of water are left, which are the mozzie’s favourite breeding grounds, so the quantity of malaria – and dengue – carrying mozzies goes up. So – no leaving buckets of water around (or anything else that could hold any still water at all). And no going out between 05:30 and 07:00 or 17:00 and 18:30 (favourite time for mozzies), unless you’re fully covered up (bit of a joke in 85 degrees), and make sure that if you have any fever you inform the doc asap, telling him or her that you live in a foco de malaria.
Of course white gringos are more susceptible than most to bites, as mozzies just love soft white skin to get their teeth (or whatever) into, and I can personally testify to their tastes. Fortunately, it is only the anopheles mosquito – and then only the female – that’s a carrier, so there’s hope for us yet (although of course it’s quite impossible to tell which is anopheles and which is female without considerable scrutiny (do you put them on their backs and look up their bottoms or something…?) Perhaps the photo here – as supplied by the Institut Pasteur – is of some help – ha ha. Anyway, we are taking heed of all the advice and hopefully will escape both malaria and dengue (but of course if I get it, you’ll be the first to know…)