Europe is malaria-free, a huge victory just in time for World Malaria Day

flashing light mosquitoes malaria tiger mosquito
In a major victory for the medical field, an entire continent has just eradicated one of the world’s deadliest diseases. Last week, the World Health Organization reported that Europe had become the first region to report zero cases of malaria in 2015, a huge improvement from just two decades ago when 90,712 cases were reported. The very last known instances of malaria in Europe occurred in Tajikistan in 2014, but based on reports, no one was affected by the mosquito-borne illness last year.

“This is a major milestone in Europe’s public health history and in the efforts to eliminate malaria globally,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO regional director for Europe. Attributing this victory to a combination of political willpower, better disease detection and surveillance, mosquito control, and intra-continental collaboration, the WHO applauded Europe’s commitment to wiping out the ailment. But still, there remains work to be done across much of the rest of the world.

Outside of Europe, there were 214 million reported cases of the disease; 438,000 of which ended in death. The majority of these cases remain centered in sub-Saharan Africa. That said, the U.N. agency is optimistic that malaria could soon be a disease of the past in more countries across the globe. On Monday, the agency noted, “WHO estimates that 21 countries are in a position to [end malaria by 2020], including 6 countries in the African Region, where the burden of the disease is heaviest.”

This lofty goal is made possible in part by the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which the organization adopted in September, and which seeks to eliminate malaria altogether. And while Europe appears to be on the path to success, experts warn that vigilance is key to maintaining the continent’s current status.

“Until malaria is eradicated globally, people travelling to and from malaria-endemic countries can import the disease to Europe, and we have to keep up the good work to prevent its reintroduction,” Jakab said.

Emerging Tech

Global Good wants to rid the world of deadly diseases with lasers and A.I.

Global Good, a collaboration between Intellectual Ventures and Bill Gates, aims to eradicate diseases that kill children in developing nations. It tackles difficult problems with high-tech prototypes.
Cars

Waymo rules and Apple trails in California self-driving car benchmarks

California's DMV releases annual reports of self-driving car disengagements on public roads. In the most recent reports. Waymo had the best performance, GM Cruise came in second, and Apple's self-driving program was in last place.
Gaming

Scalebound could be revived for Switch following Xbox One cancellation

Microsoft canceled the Xbox One and PC exclusive Scalebound more than two years ago, but a new report claims Scalebound could have found a new home as an exclusive on Nintendo Switch.
Cars

Amazon plugs in with $700 million investment in electric pickup company Rivian

Amazon invested $700 million for a minority stake in U.S. all-electric truck maker Rivian, according to a joint release. The announcement follows a Reuters report that GM and Amazon might invest $1 billion to $2 billion in the company.
Emerging Tech

Energy-harvesting gizmo powers medical implants using your own heartbeat

Engineers at Dartmouth College have built an energy-harvesting gadget that's able to convert the heart’s kinetic energy into electricity for powering an assortment of implantable devices.
Emerging Tech

FDA hails ‘Tumor Monorail’ that coaxes aggressive tumors away from the brain

Researchers have developed a so-called 'Tutor Monorail' which can successfully fool aggressive brain tumors into exiting the brain and instead migrating into an external container.
Health & Fitness

My niece lost her hearing. This is a story about how technology brought it back

For people with profound hearing loss, cochlear implants can restore sound. We explore what the procedure entails, how the system works, and take a look at the latest developments from Australian company Cochlear.
Outdoors

Skullcandy turns to action sports with the Vert Bluetooth earbuds

The new Skullcandy Vert Bluetooth earbuds are designed with action sports athletes in mind, putting audio controls on a convenient dial that provides glove-friendly options to pause and play music, and adjust volume.
Deals

The best sound machines to help you fall (and stay) asleep

Whether you find that sleep better with white noise, rain sounds, or deep sleep music, there’s a sound machine on the market that will be able to help you catch more z’s in no time at all.
Deals

The 10 best computer reading glasses to help reduce eye strain

Eye strain, headaches, and dry eyes are all side effects of too much exposure to blue light and screen glare. Get yourself a pair of computer reading glasses to help relieve the discomfort.
Mobile

9 million veterans can now access their health records on an iPhone

Apple announced a partnership with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs that allows as many as 9 million veterans to access their health records straight on their iPhone. The announcement could have a significant impact on veterans'…
Outdoors

These wireless earbuds use an A.I. to get you moving faster

The new Soul Blade wireless earbuds provide the ability to track your heart rate during a workout while an A.I.-powered coach gives advice and info on how to improve form and efficiency while exercising.
Deals

Under Armour drops prices on Gore-Tex Jackets, Pants, and backpacks

The UA Outlet Exclusive sale is going on right now through Monday, February 18. During this time, you can get up to 40 percent off a huge range of outlet items, including Gore-Tex rain gear.
Deals

Tom Brady uses these high-tech sheets for muscle pain, and they’re on sale now

Under Armour Recovery Sheets feature unique technologies that can speed your body’s post-workout healing process, and they’re on sale right now at discounts of up to $87. Read on to find out how these innovative sheets work (and how you…