A War Against Mosquitos

There are many world causes such as hunger and clean water that command our attention. Environmental issues are always on the front table. There are also many diseases yet to eradicate. New viruses are appearing all the time alongside deadly bacteria. Take your pick and devote yourself to anything that will better humankind, especially in third world nations where progress needs further impetus. Right now I am thinking about malaria, a condition that has plagued populations exposed to mosquitos that transmit the dangerous plasmodium parasite. Regional pest control has been effective, but it needs to be more widespread. Fundraising is once again on our table to help advance this cause.

Certain insects can transmit malaria to humans, and those of are of prime concern. Biologists understand the mechanics of the process, but a step further must be taken to safely combat infestations without toxic chemicals. The fever, fatigue, vomiting, and headache associated with the disease are dreadful and can lead to jaundice, coma, and death. Mosquito nets are seen in high-risk territories and spraying is common. Government regulation is not always there to eliminate abuses. Drug therapy can help the patients, but what can take care of a mosquito problem at the source?

The World Health Organization recommends 12 insecticides for this purpose—even DDT which as a bad rap in agriculture. There are many on the list due to the fact that the insects can become repellant resistant. This is known to be the case in parts of Vietnam, Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand. Mosquito larva fester in open water areas that can be treated and better yet reduced in number. Community education is an important program that draws local attention to issues demanding resolution. Stagnant water in tanks, for example, are breeding grounds that must be eliminated. Other water sources have to compensate and that is costly and difficult in most rural regions.

Another means of pest control is to manage population congestion that fosters rapid transmission. People need to learn about sanitation, window screens, and draining wetlands. Again, education is a profound tool in the war against malaria. Fatality rates can be as much as 20% of those infected. (There were 660,000 deaths worldwide in 2010). We have come a long way, but we can do more to reduce this number to close to zero. Vaccines are under consideration and development, but not yet made public. Organizations like Malaria No More and the Malaria Atlas Project are certainly timely. Kudos go to the scientists and researchers hard at work to improve the cure.

Pest control should take on a new meaning in your mind and goes well past a few ants and cockroaches in the kitchen. They are unpleasant but not life-threatening. It is serious business when a mosquito can spread a disease through the delivery of saliva and the uptake of blood and impact human well-being. Don’t let anyone become a blood meal, no matter how far away. Support malaria eradication and spread the word. Obsolescence is the goal.