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Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

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Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by sisieq on Tue Feb 08 2011, 23:41

February 8, 2011, 5:29 pm
George Clooney Answers Your Questions About Malaria
By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

My former travel buddy, George Clooney, caught malaria in January on a trip to Sudan (see what happens when I’m not around to look out for him?). This seemed an opportunity to shine a spotlight on malaria, one of the scourges of much of the developing world, and George agreed to respond to reader questions. Thanks to all for submitting your questions–and I’m truly sorry that the answers were delayed. We were about to post these answers when Egypt intervened and I was too busy dodging pro-Mubarak thugs in Cairo to focus on this. So without further ado, George and I are finally responding.

I am wondering how Mr Clooney is feeling. I had a friend with malaria who was very, very ill!!

— Sue

A.I’m feeling much better thank you.

— George Clooney

Q.What side effects did you have? And what were your symptoms when malaria was detected?

— Gayle

A.Not much in side effects, the symptoms are fever, the chills, and exciting adventures in the toilet..weak..really just very bad flu conditions with a little food poisoning thrown in to make you the perfect party guest.

— George Clooney

Q.Was Mr. Clooney taking any medications for malaria prophylaxis? And if so, how faithfully was he taking them? I hope he visited a travel medicine specialist prior to his trip!

— Mo

A.I don’t know about George, but I wasn’t taking malaria pills when I caught malaria in Congo in 1997. I learned my lesson and now usually take Larium when going to a malarial place in Africa. But some people don’t react well to Larium, and so I sometimes steer others toward Malarone. About five Americans die a year from malaria, usually after travel to the developing world, so it’s worth taking it seriously — and seeking treatment immediately if you develop the symptoms after such a trip.

— Nicholas Kristof


Q.George – A dear friend of mine had malaria…does it recur? And if you’ve had it once, can you get it again?

— BrazenMuse

A.It can…it depends on what type you get..i didn’t get that strain thankfully.

— George Clooney

Q.George – How did your treatment for malaria differ from the treatment that the average Sudanese would receive?

— Joy F.

A.I had drugs to take before during and after…pills that should be just provided to these people, like a polio vaccine..life saving drugs for diseases that kill millions needlessly, belong to mankind not to companies to profit from….we need another Jonas Salk.

— George Clooney

A.The average Sudanese in rural areas might not receive any treatment for malaria at all. In rural Africa, any fever is regarded as malaria, and people just suffer and usually recover; there seems to be a certain amount of resistance that builds up among healthy adults. So many people suffer malaria many, many times. Children and pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to dying from it, while healthy adults normally survive, although it can be lethal for them as well.

— Nicholas Kristof

Q.We have plenty of mosquitos here in Minnesota, and in other parts of the U.S. for that matter. Why do people here generally not get malaria?

— J

A.American mosquitoes don’t normally carry malaria today. Only one kind of mosquito — the anopheles — carries malaria, and it is not much found in the U.S. today and when it does exist it doesn’t carry the parasite. Mosquitoes merely carry malaria from one infected person to another person, so if there isn’t a pool of infected people around then mosquitoes won’t carry it either. That’s one reason why prevention efforts work: by reducing the number of cases, they reduce the pool of malaria that mosquitoes carry.

— Nicholas Kristof

Q.How helpful are those mosquito net programs?
— Jeremy Kareken

A.They are extremely effective…they save countless lives.

— George Clooney

A.Bed net programs seem very effective, especially when the nets are treated with insecticide. The problem tends to be getting the nets to rural areas, and then getting people to use them. The kind of mosquito that carries malaria is normally active only in the evening, when people are in bed, and that’s why the nets work so well. But ideally the nets are accompanied by vigorous treatment of suspected cases and also indoor spraying with small amounts of an insecticide like DDT: that keeps the mosquitoes out. That combination seems to work very, very effectively, but even net programs alone have resulted in plummeting rates of malaria in some countries recently. One of the saddest things I’ve seen was a family in Cambodia years ago. The mother had died of malaria, and the grandmother was looking after four children. She had one bed net that could cover three of them — and so every night she had to choose which child to leave out.

I should also add that there’s a lot we don’t know. Peter Agre of the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health tells me that a combination of insecticide treated nets and aggressive treatment using effective medicines has reduced malaria deaths more than 90 percent in parts of southern Zambia. But a similar approach in northern Zambia seems to have been much less effective. Agre’s team is now trying to sort out why. There are also high tech solutions being studied, from malaria vaccines to efforts to tinker with the fertility of the mosquitoes that carry malaria, but no breakthroughs seem imminent.

— Nicholas Kristof

Q.Given the following:
1. DDT is extremely effective at killing mosquitoes
2. Malaria kills 850,000 people a year
3. DDT has never killed a single human being
How can we justify encouraging the slaughter of nearly a million humans every year when DDT will reduce that to under 100,000?

— karlostj

A.DDT should definitely be part of the solution, and almost everyone in the public health world — including those with strong environmental concerns — agrees with that. These days the idea is not to use massive amounts of DDT trying to wipe out every insect, but to use tiny amounts with what is called indoor residual spraying. This keeps mosquitoes out of houses and seems to reduce malaria rates significantly.

— Nicholas Kristof

Q.What can we do to help? Even, and especially those of us who don’t have money to donate.

— LizzieBelle

A.Go to the Malaria No More website, click the “get involved” tab, and you’ll see plenty of options. Just fanning its page on Facebook helps spread the word — and the reason malaria is so lethal is in part that it’s invisible. Some unlikely people have done amazing volunteer work on malaria. One of my favorite stories is of Allyson Brown, who as a 16-year-high school girl in Melbourne, Florida, started a student organization to raise money for malaria bed nets. She did phenomenally well, and last I heard was aiming to buy enough bed nets for 2 million kids in Africa. She probably saved more lives as a high school student than most doctors do in a lifetime.

— Nicholas Kristof

Q.I get the Malaria stuff. I am more interested in the details of the satellite warning system. How are you working the notifications/protocol? Are you sharing those details or keeping them for the element of surprise the Dictator? Who do you hope will act when you show the horrible details of atrocities? Obviously, everyone knows they are lying about not committing the atrocities. So, who do you hope to shame into action? Anyone? I guess I just answered my own question. Anyone to jump in and help, prevent, act – besides the NGO’s – would be a welcome change when genocide is occuring. I hope it helps/works.
.

— Jean-Marie

A.No we don’t want to surprise anyone…we have recent images online that show troop build ups on the very dangerous disputed area of Abyei..the area where war is most likely to start…we see troops..we see helicopters …rebels don’t have helicopters…so if fighting breaks out no one can claim that this is all just rebel infighting…we’ve given our first images to the UN..and the State Department and they’re thrilled…but we’re giving these images to you …to stay informed..to keep you as up to date as the governments are …so you can be part of this discussion..you wont turn on the news one day and see that some northern rebel group wiped out a town just over the border…you’ll know who is really responsible…not only you but the Security Council at the UN, who send in their peacekeepers can use this to strengthen those peacekeeper’s mandate to protect the helpless…we give this to the International Criminal Court so if they find violations they can pass out more indictments…you get to be part of a team that holds bad actors accountable that haven’t been held accountable before. And it acts to deter the government of Khartoum..or the Southern Government for that matter, from violating previously agreed upon peace accords..so you’re now a part of a much bigger group watching and holding people responsible.

— George Clooney

So thanks to all for your questions — and feel free to correct ours, or offer your own views, below. And a special thanks to George for being a good sport in answering these questions. And a shout-out to the mosquito that bit him in Sudan, because it ended up helping shine a light on a neglected disease.

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sisieq
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by melbert on Wed Feb 09 2011, 00:01

Thanks Sisieq!

melbert
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 09 2011, 02:38

Oh ho, so he wasn't bothering to use any anti-malarial medications, then? How does he think he can be in any way a role model to others?

Katiedot
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by PigLove on Wed Feb 09 2011, 04:15

Dear Son of a Newsman Who Also Teaches Opinion Writing:
The sentence is the basic building block of writing. It generally starts with a capital letter, ends with a period, and might be interrupted by a common comma.

Sincerely,
A Concerned Fan

PigLove
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by Katiedot on Wed Feb 09 2011, 05:42

And please donate $500 to the 'Stop Abuse of the Ellipsis Foundation'. I'm a regular contributor, don't see why he shouldn't be too . . .

Katiedot
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by melbert on Wed Feb 09 2011, 23:30

You guys crack me up!!!

melbert
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by Casey on Thu Feb 10 2011, 00:02

What are....you guys talking....about? What's the problem.....with....his....writing?

Casey
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by melbert on Thu Feb 10 2011, 00:15

You're just too smart Casey!!!

melbert
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by PigLove on Thu Feb 10 2011, 04:09

Maybe we're interpreting the ellipses wrong. Perhaps they are being used for their proper function of excerpting portions out of a longer quote. So we just have to fill in the blanks...
A.Not much in side effects, the symptoms are fever, the chills, and exciting adventures in the toilet[, if you think that runny yellow poo is exciting or adventurous, which most people don't, I realize. You also get very]..weak [in the head, which explains why I'm still dating Elisabetta. It's]..really just very bad flu conditions with a little food poisoning thrown in to make you the perfect party guest.

— George Clooney

PigLove
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by it's me on Thu Feb 10 2011, 09:21

HAHAHAHA!!! lol! anyway great push about malaria and poor people Thumbs up!

it's me
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

Post by melbert on Thu Feb 10 2011, 14:57

PigLove, you MUST become George's writer!! You fill in all the blanks appropriately!

melbert
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Re: Q&A with Nick Kristof and George About Malaria

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