The recent discovery that the mosquito-borne West Nile virus that plunged New York into panic last summer had survived the winter and was working its way up the US west coast sent a frisson of excitement through the broadsheet press on both sides of the Atlantic .

If it can happen there, the tiniest smidgen of global warming means it can happen here - it would only take an average temperature rise of a fraction of a degree to bring the wrong species of mosquito back to Britain, according to one lengthy article on the malarial menace in The Guardian.

But, of course, the really scary thing about mosquitoes is not the remote threat they pose to the wealthy west - it is the 500 million cases of malaria they cause each year in the developing world, where solid-walled and windowed buildings, grandiose drainage schemes and insecticidal helicopters are not options.

So, say what you like about Microsoft boss Bill Gates for the baleful effect his computer software has had on your life, but his $40m donation to the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine is without doubt A Good Thing.

The money - channelled through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation - will be used to develop new treatments and preventive measures, as well as setting up centres of excellence throughout Africa, where malaria currently claims the lives of an estimated 3,000 children every day.

The recent G8 summit meeting committed member countries to help cut the burden of disease associated with malaria in half over the next decade. It is also one of the World Health Organisation's key priorities.

To get some idea of the scale of the task, try Malaria Foundation International, which offers a wealth of information and links to useful sites, and WHO's Roll Back Malaria campaign.