DDT is a very effective pesticide, that helped the USA eradicate malaria as a health problem in the American South. But Rachael Carson blamed it for many environmental woes, and it became discredited. Many, myself included, believe that millions of poor children and others in Africa and elsewhere have died because DDT was not more aggressively wielded in malaria areas to kill mosquitoes.
True, strides have been made with things like mosquito nets treated with pesticide and treatment modalities. But that may no longer be enough with the alarming report that a prime malaria treatment may be losing its effectiveness. From the Daily Mail story:
Millions of lives are at risk as one of the best drugs used to treat malaria is losing its potency, say experts. Resistant strains of the deadliest and most common form of the disease have been confirmed on the border of Thailand and Burma. Tests revealed that the malaria parasite, Plasmodium falciparum has undergone a genetic change making it resistant to artemisinin, one of the world’s most popular drug treatments.
Lead researcher, Professor Francois Nosten, director of the Shoklo Malaria Research Unit in Thailand, said: ‘This is very worrying indeed and suggests that we are in a race against time to control malaria in these regions before drug resistance worsens and develops and spreads further. ‘The effect of that happening could be devastating. Malaria already kills hundreds of thousands of people a year - if our drugs become ineffective, this figure will rise dramatically.’ In 2010, malaria killed an estimated 655,000 people worldwide, mostly young children and pregnant women.
Treatment is unnecessary when the disease is prevented. Time to declare all out, no quarter war against mosquitoes. Haul out the DDT and any other pesticide or methodology for destroying the vector responsible for spreading the malaria parasite. Yes, I know that could violate the “rights of nature.” Tough toenails. Human lives are at stake.