Title text: The malaria party was David's idea.
Malaria is a mosquito-borne infectious disease of humans and other animals caused by protists (a type of microorganism) of the genus Plasmodium. It begins with a bite from an infected female mosquito, which introduces the protists, via its saliva, into the circulatory system, and ultimately to the liver where they mature and reproduce. The disease causes symptoms that typically include fever and headache, which in severe cases can progress to coma or death.
It plays on the idea of a pox party where adults bring their children to deliberately expose them to a virus to promote immunity. This is commonly done for childhood diseases like measles and chickenpox and have mainly been replaced by vaccines. Some of these illnesses are more serious for adults than children. After contracting chickenpox once, the immune system has developed antibodies for it and so is not vulnerable to the virus anymore (except in the case of shingles). However, malaria does not work this way, but instead once one has suffered from malaria, it can recur on its own even after apparent healing from symptoms. So having a malaria party would not promote immunity, but only make people sick and further vulnerable in the future.
- [People wearing party hats, a discarded balloon to the side.]
- We had a malaria party, but it turned out not to be very much fun.
- This is the forty-ninth comic originally posted to livejournal. The previous comic was 54: Science, the next is 52: Secret Worlds.