West Nile virus: No call for DDT

DDT-obsessed politicos look for any opportunity to slam scientists and policy makers who urge caution about using the chemical. Sen. Tom Coburn’s (R-Okla) unholy campaign against the memory of Rachel Carson, author of Silent Spring, is only Exhibit A in how the obsession skews public policy now.

In earlier posts I’ve warned that there will be calls for more DDT use, with reports of West Nile virus spreading this season. Winter is coming slowly to the American Midwest, so mosquitoes still crop up carrying the virus. Voodoo science and junk science advocates look for such opportunities to claim that we need to “bring back” DDT, ‘since the claims of harm have been found to be false.’

No public health official, no mosquito abatement official, has asked for DDT to fight West Nile virus, even as the virus infects humans across the nation. Nor has any harm of DDT been refuted (quite the opposite — we now know of more dangers).

One reason, of course, is that DDT is not the pesticide of choice to use against West Nile vector mosquitoes. Mosquito abatement efforts aim at the larvae, where DDT use would be stupid.

A survey of the nation, in places where West Nile is a problem provides a good view of how West Nile virus is fought by public health and mosquito abatement officials. DDT is used in no case.

While you’re at it, take a look at what LeisureGuy has to say about DDT and scaria. Then wander over to Townhall.com, and see what scaria really looks like, in a shameless column from Paul Driessen, the author of the anti-environmentalist screed Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death. According to Driessen, it appears that environmentalists have been biting Africans to spread malaria, not mosquitoes. He may exaggerate some.

West Nile virus is a great problem for people in the United States. No health official, mosquito abatement official, or anyone else in a position of responsibility, has called for DDT.

7 Responses to West Nile virus: No call for DDT

  1. stephanyard says:

    West nile virus has been a cause of major concern through out the world especially during the warm-weather months of spring and summer season. As there is no vaccine for West Nile encephalitis, you must be aware of the necessary precautionary measures that should be adopted to prevent infection. The only way to protect you from west nile virus is preventing yourself from being bitten by an infected mosquito by reducing the number of mosquitoes around your surroundings or by protecting yourself with a natural mosquito repellant.


  2. […] Ed Darrell, Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub […]


  3. Ed Darrell says:

    I’d fix the typo, but I like it. There’s a metaphor in there, a title for a short story or something.


  4. Bug Girl says:

    And, somehow, I made a silly typo. Bloody cold :(
    should be “too”


  5. Bug Girl says:

    Thanks so much for writing this Ed–with my job change upcoming, I am two swamped (no mosquito pun intended) to keep up with DDT news.


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Good news. Is this protocol well known among medical professionals? Is it used enough to save lives?


  7. An effective treatment would be better than spraying, I think.

    My biotech company has had encouraging results treating West Nile virus encephalitis since 2003: 81% treatment success rate in people (21 of 26), 75% in horses (6 of 8), and 50% in birds (6 of 12).

    Our first 8 WNV patients were published in a peer-reviewed medical journal in 2004 (1). Many of our patients were elderly.

    The drugs we use already exist, and are FDA-approved for blood pressure. They appear to be anti-inflammatory, also. People with a normal immune system who get sick from the West Nile virus appear to overdo their immune response to the virus. Our approach is meant to safely calm down their exaggerated immune response.

    Anybody who wants to download the WNV trial protocol can do so for free at any time by clicking on the “West Nile trial” link on our homepage at http://www.genomed.com.


    1: Moskowitz DW, Johnson FE. The central role of angiotensin I-converting enzyme in vertebrate pathophysiology. Curr Top Med Chem. 2004;4(13):1433-54. PMID: 15379656 (For PDF file, click on paper #6 at:
    http://www.genomed.com/index.cfm?action=investor&drill=publications) — see Table 2 for WNV patients

    Dave Moskowitz MD FACP
    CEO, GenoMed, Inc.
    Ticker symbol: GMED.PK


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