April 25 World Malaria Day

April 25 is World Malaria Day. Malaria makes mosquitoes the most dangerous animal on the planet. Malaria, a mosquito borne illness, kills more people every year than all the wars combined. There are many organizations and groups that fight malaria. Mosquito Squad supports Malaria No More.

Malaria is a mosquito borne illness that has been found worldwide, and it was endemic to the US as recently as the 1950s. Annually it kills about 600,000-700,000 people worldwide, and incapacitates another 200 million. Most of the people malaria kills are children. It causes billions of dollars of economic losses, millions of missed days of school, and is a leading cause of childhood death. A child dies from malaria every minute. This disease has literally changed history, from influencing Napoleon’s sale of Louisiana to delaying the building of the Panama canal.

Malaria is carried by Anopheles mosquitoes. The disease doesn’t require an animal host. Mosquitoes transfer the disease directly from person to person. The disease itself is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. Once the infected mosquito bites a person, the parasite travels through the bloodstream to the liver where it reproduces. It is then released to the blood stream, where it continues to reproduce. The blood stage is where symptoms of the disease show, and where others can be infected by mosquito bites. The disease symptoms include fever, chills, nausea, body aches, general malaise. Severe malaria can include cerebral malaria, cardiovascular collapse, kidney failure, various blood issues and other symptoms.  Malaria can result in death and chronic illness.

The fight against malaria worldwide is a multi-pronged approach. It involves providing effective malarial treatments, preventative treatment, use of pesticide treated mosquito nets, mosquitoes elimination, and continued research. One dollar can buy effective mosquito treatment for a child, curing the disease in 1-3 days. Ten dollars is enough to buy a pesticide infused bed net. There are many organizations that work to fight malaria, and Mosquito Squad supports Malaria No More. Malaria No More (MNM) provides mosquito nets, fast diagnosis kits, malarial treatment and education. Every Mosquito Squad franchise, nationwide, donates to this cause. Find out more  about malaria and the fight against it at World Malaria Day.

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Free Summer Concerts and Plays in Austin and the Surrounding Suburbs

It is well known that Austin is the Live Music Capital of the World. As locals, we can capitalize on that by enjoying all kinds of free concerts, plays and movies at venues across town. These fun warm-weather events start as early as March and go all summer long, featuring everything from well-known bands and theater companies, as well as small local groups.

Some of the best known Austin events are KGSR’s Blues on the Green, KGSR’s Unplugged at the Grove, Shakespeare in the Park, and other events at the Zilker Hillside Theater.

Shady Grove

The KGSR music programs are always free and always well attended, so get there early. The same goes for the plays (this year they will be The Taming of the Shrew and Hairspray), get there early. I have been attending all of these events for years and I have never been disappointed. This is the good stuff, year after year, provided free to our community.

In addition to these four biggies, there are numerous other music, movie and theatre options out there. They range from classical music and ballet to country music and movie sing-a-longs. Most area suburbs have music and movie programs, all are family friendly and free.

Blues on the Green – Check the KGSR website for dates and lineup

Unplugged at the Grove – Check the KGSR website for dates and lineup

Zilker Hillside Theater – Shows typically start at dusk

At The Long Center

Elsewhere Around Town

This is by no means a comprehensive list. You can find more great events at Stuff to Do in Austin and Free Fun in Austin.