Project Global: Water


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1939 Malaria Mexico


The majority of tropical diseases are caused by improper disposal of sewage wastes or weather events. Rainfall can influence the transport and dissemination of infectious agents while temperature affects tropical diseases growth and survival. With the increase of cloudbursts, catchment from roofs and stress on sewer systems has increased the amount of still standing breeding pools. Governments, like Mexico, have eradicated the diseases by marketing and educating the public. In 1939, the Mexican government issued the postage stamp timbre del mosquito since its precious funding from the Ministry of Health was failing. It was the first postage stamp dedicated to malaria control. In 2017, Mexico became the first country in the Americas to eliminate Trachoma. This was achieved through better sanitation, use of antibiotics and surgery, and using the slogan: “With water, soap and cleanliness you can prevent trachoma”.

Below is WHO’s environmental changes that affect human infectious diseases:

  • Dams, canals, irrigation
                      Schistosomiasis (increase in snail host habitat and human contact)
                     Malaria (increase in breeding sites for mosquitoes)
                     Helminthiasis (increase in larval contact due to moist soil)
                     River blindness (decrease in blackfly breeding and disease)

            02. Urbanization and urban crowding
                    Dengue (increase in mosquito breeding sites)
                    Cutaneous leishmaniasis (increase in proximity and sandfly vectors)

            03. Elevated precipitation
                    Rift valley fever (increase in pools for mosquito breeding)
                    Hantavirus pulmonary syndrome (increase in rodent food, habitat, and abundance)

              04. Ocean Warming
                    Red tide (increase in toxic algae blooms)



Timbre del mosquito in 1939. 

Sources: Marcos Cueto, “Malaria Eradication in Mexico: Some Historico-Parasitological Views on Cold War, Deadly Fevers by Marcos Cueto, Ph.D,” Researchgate, June 2008, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26518094_Malaria_eradication_in_Mexico_Some_historico-parasitological_views_on_Cold_war_deadly_fevers_by_Marcos_Cueto_PhD.

  1. “Bethia Kwak, “Mexico Eliminates Infectious Disease Which Is Leading Cause of Blindness,” NBCNews.com (NBCUniversal News Group, April 24, 2017), https://www.nbcnews.com/news/latino/mexico-eliminates-disease-which-leading-cause-blindness-n750306.
  2. “Filiberto Malagón, “Malaria Eradication in Mexico: Some Historico-Parasitological Views On Cold War, Deadly Fevers by Marcos Cueto, Ph.D,” Philosophy, Ethics, and Humanities in Medicine 3, no. 1 (2008): p. 15, https://doi.org/10.1186/1747-5341-3-15.