Malaria

I am always stunned about how little is done to prevent malaria. This is perhaps the most important infectious disease in the world. It kills a million people a year but infects 300 million. Those 300 million have little energy to do anything thus becoming a burden on their families and society.

From The Tenacious Buzz of Malaria – WSJ.com in today’s paper: “The malaria parasite has been responsible for half of all human deaths since the Stone Age, and one in 14 of us alive today still carry genes that first arose to help protect us from its ravages. Malaria has shaped our trade and settlement patterns, and our demographics. Today, it sickens 300 million every year, and kills nearly 1 million, despite the fact that we’ve known how to cure it (with parasite-killing drugs) and prevent it (by avoiding mosquito bites) for over a century. “

The problem I have is that malaria is easily eliminated through judicious use of DDT. The US was a malarial swamp until they used DDT to eradicate it from the US.

The book Silent Spring popularized the idea that DDT was killing masses of birds. Turns out that this was largely not true. Even if true, the modern use of DDT is much smaller than the gross levels of the 1950’s.

Even if birds are damaged by DDT, it makes no sense to savage 300 million people a year to protect a few birds.

Unfortunately, so-called animal rights activists have been able to stop the use of DDT in Africa to stop this scourge. Shame on them.

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