Student nets malaria

Traveling to Tanzania to help curb the effect of malaria among its denizens is a charitable undertaking, at 16 it's inspiring.

Stephen Schneider, 16, of Burnt Hills, will travel to Tanzania in July to purchase Olyset bed nets and personally distribute them to families with babies, pregnant women and children under the age of 5 in the village of Burere. The village sits near Lake Victoria and in Tanzania 47 percent of the population contract malaria each year. A student in the Science Research Program at Burnt Hills-Ballston Lake High School, Schneider studies mosquitoes that carry malaria at the Wadsworth Center Laboratory in Slingerlands and became interested in bringing bed nets to those in need through his parent's organization- Friends of Musoma Society. The organization provides funds for humanitarian aid in the Musoma Mara region of Tanzania.

I wanted to see how malaria was in the real world and how it really affected people, said Schneider.

Working with the Friends of Musoma Society, Schneider hopes to raise enough money to present 1,000 bed nets to locals in Burere. Schneider will fly into Arusha, Tanzania, with his mother, Gina, and purchase the bed nets from A to Z Textile Mills. The nets are coated with a long lasting, non-toxic, insecticide that kills mosquitoes on contact and are effective up to five years. According to the Schneiders, the nets reduce the transmission of malaria by 93 percent.

Malaria is transferred when the Plasmodium parasite is transmitted by the female Anopheles mosquito into the host's bloodstream. The parasite then infects red blood cells and can cause those infected to become anemic. The parasite then lays dormant in the liver and if the person is bitten again by a mosquito, the parasite will become active again.

"The problem is the re-exposure and being bit again," said Gina Schneider.

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