Vector-borne diseases are ancient foes: A recent Institut Pasteur study reports that malaria, for example, emerged in Africa at least 20,000 years ago – perhaps 15,000 years before the adoption of agriculture. Alongside dengue, African sleeping sickness and other neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), malaria remains debilitating, and even deadly. Smallholder farmers are particularly vulnerable to malaria, especially in Africa and southeast Asia. The very conditions that are ideal to raise crops – a plot of land with damp, humid air, and warmth – also build an ideal environment for disease vectors, such as mosquitoes, to thrive.
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