Malaria Exhibit at CDC Shows "Blood, Sweat and Tears" Shed to Fight the Disease


Photographer Adam Nadel answers questions at the opening of the exhibit Malaria: Blood, Sweat and Tears.

The mosquito kills more people than any other creature in the world. That's one message from Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears, a public health exhibit with photographs by Adam Nadel showing now through May 20 at the Global Health Odyssey Museum on CDC's Roybal campus in Atlanta.

Malaria is in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's DNA, according to CDC director Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH. The CDC began in July 1946 as a wartime agency, Malaria Control in War Areas, designed to help keep the southeast US malaria-free during World War II. Malaria was eliminated in the United States in the late 1940s, but about half of the world's population is still at risk. The exhibit, which captures those risks in eye-catching ways, discusses the history, science, and global impact of malaria.

That impact is staggering. In 2008, malaria caused an estimated 243 million cases of malaria and 863,000 deaths. Although cases occur across the globe, 85 percent of the world's malaria deaths occur in Africa, where a child dies from malaria every 45 seconds and the disease accounts for up to 40 percent of public health expenditures. Worldwide, the disease threatens 3.3 billion people.

The need for prevention is critical. A tiny mosquito can be a killing machine, striking with stealth, attacking without provocation. Malaria is caused by a parasite carried by the Anopheles mosquito. People with malaria typically are very sick with high fevers, shaking chills and flu-like illness, and they can die if they do not receive proper medical treatment. Pregnant women and children under 5 who have little to no immunity are more likely to become severely ill and die.

Photographer Adam Nadel traveled to malaria-endemic countries, including Nigeria, Uganda and Cambodia, building up a poignant portfolio of images for the exhibition. The images provide highly personal stories of the physical, emotional, economic and scientific spectrum of malaria, illustrating the impact of the disease on families, health workers, malaria researchers and local communities.

"There is considerable hope," says Frieden. "Malaria is preventable and treatable. And there has been progress in the fight against malaria. Deaths decreased more than 10 percent from 2008 to 2009. And 11 of Africa's 43 malaria-endemic countries have reductions greater than 50 percent in either confirmed cases or deaths over the past decade. The numbers show that investments in malaria control are effective and current strategies work."

The CDC's current work to prevent and control malaria worldwide includes:

- Implementing the President's Malaria Initiative, a U.S. government initiative led by USAID, and providing technical assistance to the Amazon Malaria Initiative. Both initiatives are part of the US Global Health Initiative - Collaborating with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, TB, and Malaria; the World Bank; Roll Back Malaria; UNICEF; and Ministries of Health to help achieve global malaria goals - Providing technical expertise to Ministries of Health and partners in policy development, program guidance and support, scientific research, and monitoring and evaluation of progress toward Roll Back Malaria goals - Conducting strategic and applied research to better understand malaria and develop safe, effective interventions for its prevention and control

- Working to prevent the resurgence of malaria in the U.S. by monitoring cases brought back to the U.S. ("imported" cases), responding to infrequent outbreaks in the U.S., and providing guidance to protect U.S. travelers.

The exhibition is at CDC with the support of the CDC Foundation, an independent, nonprofit organization that connects the CDC with private-sector organizations and individuals to build public health programs that make the world healthier and safer. Since 1995, the CDC Foundation has provided $300 million to support CDC's work, launched more than 500 programs around the world, and built a network of individuals and organizations committed to supporting CDC and public health.

Malaria: Blood, Sweat, and Tears is at the CDC through May 20, 2011. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with hours extended on Thursdays to 7 p.m. The museum is closed on federal holidays.

For more about malaria and CDC's work to prevent it around the world, visit

For the latest information on cases of malaria imported to the United States, visit:

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