Saturday, January 15, 2005

A Tsunami of Disease

A couple of days ago, CBS issued this report about malaria in the tsunami disaster area. According to the report, malaria could easily double the death toll and possibly increase it by 150 percent—more than an addition 100,000 dead.

Fighting this bout of malaria, however, is proving to be the hardest in recorded history. The sheer size of the rising epidemic isn’t helped by the limited options.

According to the report, “The classic malaria prevention approach of distributing pesticide-impregnated bed nets to communities will not be part of the effort to protect the local population because there is a world shortage of nets, they are bulky to transport if they are available and, in an emergency situation, it's difficult to teach the people how to use them properly, [Richard] Allan, [director of the Mentor Institute,] said.”

Though fumigators will spray homes with pesticide, there’s little chance DDT—the most efficient killer of mosquitoes—will be used, thanks to the near global ban on the chemical (which is based on unfounded claims). If this is truly the rising epidemic the experts are saying it is, then why isn’t the best weapon for this war being flown in? Perhaps people should read more.

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