World Malaria Day 2014 – How can you help beat the disease?

Poster from BioMed Central:

Poster from BioMed Central for World Malaria Day 2014

Poster from BioMed Central for World Malaria Day 2014

Time for a big push to smash the disease’s hold on humanity, maybe eradicate it.  Are you in?

No, DDT is not the answer, not even much of AN answer.

How can you help, right now?

  1. Send $10 to Nothing But Nets. Bednets are dramatically more effective than just insecticides, in preventing malaria infections and saving lives.  Your $10 donation will save at least one life.
  2. Write to your Congressional delegation, and urge them to increase funding to the President’s Malaria Initiative. Malaria does well when people in non-malaria regions turn their backs on the problem.  Malaria declines with constant attention to nation-wide and continent-wide programs to prevent the disease, by diminishing habitat for mosquitoes, curing the disease in humans so mosquitoes have no well of disease to draw from, and preventing mosquitoes from biting humans, with window screens, education on when to stay indoors, and bednets.


31 Responses to World Malaria Day 2014 – How can you help beat the disease?

  1. Black Flag® says:

    There is -obviously- no issue stopping a cure when the cure has cured.

    The issue is in your statement: “No DDT is not an option”. You dismiss the best cure when the disease is still rampant.


  2. Ed Darrell says:

    BF, after we banned DDT use in the U.S., malaria deaths started to fall, and have continued to fall each year to today.

    Same with malaria infections. Half a billion malaria infections in 1972, fewer than 225 million today.

    Stopping the use of DDT on cotton in Alabama didn’t cause an increase in malaria.

    Ending the WHO malaria eradication campaign didn’t cause an increase in malaria.

    Malaria declines. Not so fast as we’d like, but it still declines. You can’t take a decline, and claim it’s not — not and be considered a worthwhile, honest human.


  3. Black Flag® says:

    Yes, in your illiterate economic world, where it is a zero-sum game, you can’t imagine that roads and medicine are two different things, independent of the other.


  4. Black Flag® says:

    Yeah, they do breed in standing water, but the more modern the city and the more civilization, the less that happens, Ed.


  5. Black Flag® says:

    Yeah, so you deny the facts that stopping DDT causes more malaria!

    You must be glad you aren’t South African, so to suffer your cause, huh?


  6. Ed Darrell says:

    Since the US “banned” DDT, seven years AFTER WHO stopped the eradication campaign based on DDT, malaria infection totals fell by more than 50%, from 500 million a year to 225 million per year; malaria deaths fell from 4 million per year to 700,000 per year.

    Stop DDT, malaria infections and malaria deaths fall dramatically.

    But you gotta keep fighting malaria, and forget about snark against environmentalists.


  7. Ed Darrell says:

    It pays to study the issue before coming up with ham-handed solutions that either don’t do the job or do more destruction that good.

    Human development is. Cities do not have malaria issues – the marshes are paved over.

    Malaria is no respecter of the urban/rural dichotomy. Cities have malaria just as rural areas do. Mosquitoes that carry malaria don’t need swamps to breed (a common, but often wrong-headed and damaging assumption). They breed in potholes in cities. They breed in rain gutters. They breed in the piles of old tires in cities. They breed on improperly-pitched rooftops where puddles form after a rain.

    Pavement is not a solution, and often damages predators of mosquitoes that would keep them in check, especially meadow birds and bats.

    DDT on the other hand is not to be sprayed in the out of doors, period. That was NEVER the use of DDT to fight malaria, nor is it now.

    To beat malaria, we need to cure malaria in the humans from whom the mosquitoes get the disease in the first place; and we need to prevent mosquitoes from biting infected persons, and prevent infected mosquitoes from biting uninfected people.

    That is achieved effectively by barriers, like bednets, during the hours the malaria-carrying mosquitoes bite (evening to about midnight); good access to health care so there can be quick diagnoses of which type of malaria, and so proper treatments can be given in full course so victims have a cure. Bednets alone cut malaria rates by 50% to 85%; DDT alone (in indoor residual spraying) cuts malaria rates by 25% to 50%.

    Improving housing helps; screens on windows make dramatic reductions in malaria, if housing is up to snuff otherwise.

    Fixing potholes in roads — a problem in cities as well as rural areas — is a huge factor in reducing malaria infections.

    It’s simple, really. Even when DDT worked, most of the fight against malaria involved other methods. That’s still true.


  8. Ed Darrell says:

    Paving over marsh lands means fewer new drugs to cure heart disease. It would mean that the people who now live in mud huts would have nowhere to get mud, and they’d be left without housing.

    That’s what you’re really calling for, BF, is the degradation of human beings.



  9. Black Flag® says:

    Paving over the marsh lands improves human life. Instead of living in a mud hut, these people would live like you.

    But you don’t want that. Yet, you do not -yourself- want to live in a mud hut.


  10. Debra says:

    Just going to ignore the ad hominem filler.

    You might want to re-think the idea of paving over wetlands. That practice tends to have nasty consequences over the long term. We need new and better ideas.

    humming on my way out:
    “Don’t it always seem to go
    That you don’t know what you’ve got
    ‘Til it’s gone
    They paved paradise
    And put up a parking lot” –Joni Mitchell


  11. Black Flag® says:

    Methinks, Debra, you do not know the extent of geography, nor the extent of human establishments to make your claim.

    Absolutely agree with Ed that pesticides alone are not the answer.

    Human development is. Cities do not have malaria issues – the marshes are paved over.

    DDT solves the problem today so that human establishment solves the problem tomorrow.


  12. Black Flag® says:

    Already shown in reality, as already provided here.

    Stop DDT, malaria rises. Use DDT, malaria falls.

    I care not whether she is dead or not. She being dead does not resolve her specious presentation, nor improve it. She was dead wrong about DDT then and now.

    You willingly trade human lives to support your cause, Ed.


  13. Ed Darrell says:

    Prior to 1945, yes.


  14. Ed Darrell says:

    Show us the science, BF. Where are the scientific studies that say DDT is both as effective as it once was, AND safe? None.

    Studies that show it’s well worth the risk? Nope.

    Your attempts to kick a dead woman’s reputation are repugnant. Carson was right about malaria and DDT in 1962, and still is.

    Medical care, preventing bites, is the way to beat malaria. If DDT could contribute, it could be a tool, and is in fact still used by WHO — but it’s decreasing in effectiveness, while still a nasty, deadly environmental poison.


  15. Debra says:

    If DDT or any of the other pesticides were effective at solving the problem they wouldn’t need to be sprayed over decades of time. What they are effective at doing is selecting mutant insects that are stronger and even harder to kill. That sounds like a poor solution to the problem to me.

    In fact, pesticides aren’t actually intended to be a solution to the problem of pests. They were developed out of a desire to use up post war time surpluses of chemicals. A kind of deadly scam because by their nature they tend to create a perpetual market for the product. When consumers find that the pesticide doesn’t work they try using more or switch to something even more potent. What they really ought to do is see the truth: pesticides don’t work. So, try something else.


  16. Black Flag® says:

    “South Africa is one country that continues to use DDT under WHO guidelines. In 1996, the country switched to alternative insecticides and malaria incidence increased dramatically. Returning to DDT and introducing new drugs brought malaria back under control.

    According to DDT advocate Donald Roberts, malaria cases increased in South America after countries in that continent stopped using DDT.

    Research data shows a significantly strong negative relationship between DDT residual house sprayings and malaria rates. In a research from 1993 to 1995, Ecuador increased its use of DDT and resulted in a 61% reduction in malaria rates, while each of the other countries that gradually decreased its DDT use had large increase in malaria rates.”

    The fact that DDT is effective demonstrates that -unlike your rhetoric to the contrary – it should be used.

    I absolutely agree that human development, eliminating the breeding grounds of the insect – ultimately is the best solution for it solves TWO human problems at the same time – better human living as well as eliminating malaria.

    But you can’t get human development whilst living under the scourge of malaria. Eliminate the latter, then the former expands rapidly.


  17. Black Flag® says:

    When it was first introduced in World War II, DDT was very effective in reducing malaria morbidity and mortality.

    The WHO’s anti-malaria campaign, which consisted mostly of spraying DDT, was initially very successful as well. For example, in Sri Lanka, the program reduced cases from about 3 million per year before spraying to just 18 in 1963 and 29 in 1964. Thereafter the program was halted to save money and malaria rebounded to 600,000 cases in 1968 and the first quarter of 1969.


  18. Black Flag® says:

    The fact is, Ed, DDT is astoundingly effective.

    To campaign on the headstone of the shrill Carson to not use the most effective means to eradicate a human disaster is down right evil.


  19. Ed Darrell says:

    DDT wasn’t discovered to be effective as a pesticide until 1939; it was not deployed “broadly” until about 1942, and not really used against anything but typhus in Europe until 1946, after the war.

    You can look this history up, and see. Muller, the guy who discovered DDT kills insects, won the Nobel for his work. Read the citation — no mention of malaria. The presentation speech MENTIONS malaria, but the Nobel Committee looked at typhus, and that is usually cited.

    Maybe more to the point, Sonia Shah’s book The Fever documents how DDT was NOT the chief method of malaria eradication in the U.S. The chart you cited earlier shows almost all of the progress against malaria in the U.S. to have been done by 1942, and the disease all but eradicated by 1946 — when DDT was first available for any use in the U.S.

    WHO’s campaign to eradicate malaria, under the direction of Fred Soper (who had great success against malaria WITHOUT DDT earlier), ran from 1955 to 1965. Soper devised campaigns that required that 80% of homes in an area be treated with indoor residual spraying (IRS), with DDT; then when the mosquito population was knocked down temporarily (and ONLY temporarily), medical care would cure the disease in humans. In six months or a year, when the mosquitoes came roaring back, Soper reasoned accurately, there would be no pool of malaria parasites (humans) to infect mosquitoes, and the disease transmission cycle would be broken.

    Soper’s methods worked well for an entire decade. Soper thought he could defeat malaria completely by 1975 . . . if mosquitoes didn’t become resistant to DDT. WHO’s campaigns, under Soper, ran successfully around the Mediterranean, and in other more temperate nations. In 1964, Soper took the campaign to central Africa.

    Two years earlier, Rachel Carson warned in Silent Spring that if DDT overuse were not curtailed, target insects, especially mosquitoes, would develop resistance and immunity, and DDT would be rendered useless in the fight. Soper thought Carson was a bit alarmist.

    But when Soper’s troops tried the campaign in central Africa, they discovered that mosquitoes were resistant and immune to DDT, bred that way by widescale DDT use on crops in fields.

    With no pesticide to replace DDT, and with DDT not working to knock down the local mosquito populations, Soper suspended the eradication campaign in 1965, hoping for a quick invention of a replacement for DDT. By 1969, with no chemical alternative on the horizon, WHO officially ended the eradication campaign. DDT abuse killed the campaign to eradicate malaria.

    Turned out Carson was right. Sadly. We should have listened then.

    Today, malaria is on the run due not non-DDT methods of beating the disease. In fact, one of the few places malaria seems NOT to be on the run is India, where most of the world’s DDT is made and used today, more DDT in India than the rest of the world combined. Were DDT a panacea against malaria-vector mosquitoes, India should be malaria free. We see the opposite.

    DDT leaves significant destruction in its wake. It’s a persistent pollutant, and it kills indiscriminately. Even in a few places where DDT might work against mosquitoes in Africa, locals don’t want it. In the 1950s and 1960s, DDT abuse in fields led to massive fish kills, which meant starvation for local people who depend on fish for food. Memories of disasters are long.

    DDT left a legacy of polluted sites in the U.S., now all Superfund cleanup sites; and it left a legacy of pollution in Africa. Health studies show long-term effects of DDT, including endocrine disruption that promotes and may cause cancers, far outweigh benefits of DDT.

    Wise malaria fighters ask for money for nets, money for better health care, money to distribute preventive tools and substances — but they don’t ask for more DDT. Been there, been harmed by that, now know it’s not very effective, want to concentrate on what works, not what libertarians call politically correct.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Black Flag® says:


    “DT was used extensively during World War II by the Allies to control the insect vectors of typhus – nearly eliminating the disease in many parts of Europe. In the South Pacific, it was sprayed aerially for malaria and dengue fever control with spectacular effects”


  21. Black Flag® says:

    Sorry, Ed, DDT was in use broadly during the war and after … it is your timeline that suffers distortions, not mine.


  22. Black Flag® says:

    No, “we” didn’t win the battle in 1939, as the graph absolutely demonstrates.

    Absolutely, the choices of confining people indoors – 1939 style with no airco – would be the choice SANS DDT.

    Additionally, as development (ie: good old capitalism) filled in marshes etc. improved the lot of life to be sure, doubly.

    But pretending these measures – confinement and development – are effective in under-developed, government ruined nations is bizarre.


  23. Ed Darrell says:

    Great chart, there, BF. You notice, it ends in 1946, before DDT was used.


  24. Ed Darrell says:

    I said “essentially controlled.” Yes, “eradicated” in 1951. DDT spraying started in earnest in 1952. You’re still wrong.


  25. Ed Darrell says:

    But, we defeated malaria by 1939 in the U.S., with three initiatives that are still effective today:

    1. We had a national campaign to improve housing, to be sure homes were sealed to mosquitoes, and had good windows on which screens could be hung. Turns out malaria-spreading mosquitoes bite mostly evening to midnight, and window screens alone prevent most of those bites. Especially the TVA had official charges to fight malaria, by improving housing.
    2. The U.S. Public Health Service worked to beef up public health services in malaria-endemic counties across the U.S., to speed diagnosis and effective treatment of the disease; turns out that curing humans of the malaria parasite means mosquitoes can’t draw the disease to spread it.
    3. Several federal and state agencies banded together to education people on how to drain mosquito breeding places near homes, to prevent contact, to prevent bites. Mosquitoes rarely move more than about 50 yards in a lifetime. If raingutters on houses, old tires, cans, and potholes in roads near homes are drained, mosquitoes simply don’t come into contact with humans, and the spread of the disease stops.

    Basically, that’s what the President’s Malaria Initiative, the Gates Foundation, and WHO advocate today — with the addition of bednets, especially where housing can’t be upgraded quickly enough to make the whole house an effective mosquito screen.

    Rachel Carson urged the use of “integrated pest management” as the smart-effective way to beat malaria. WHO adopted that method worldwide in 2000, under the name “integrated vector managment” (IVM). Since then, malaria has seen radical, permanent declines worldwide, even faster than before.


  26. Black Flag® says:

    Oh, and it wasn’t until 1951 that the US that it was declared “eradicated”. Good try tho.


  27. Black Flag® says:

    It was initially used with great effect to combat malaria, typhus, and the other insect-borne human diseases among both military and civilian populations and for insect control in crop and livestock production, institutions, homes, and gardens. DDT’s quick success as a pesticide and broad use in the United States and other countries…

    Even the EPA shows that is it responsible for success, Ed.

    Go back to living under Carson’s ignorance.


  28. Debra says:

    The bed nets project sounds like a great idea. Thanks for sharing this.


  29. Ed Darrell says:

    Malaria was essentially eradicated in the U.S. by 1939. DDT was first available to use against mosquitoes in the U.S. in 1946.

    A bit calendar challenged, there?

    BF, read the materials carefully. If you do, you’ll see that worldwide, malaria fighters who spend their lives fighting the disease ask for better medical care, and bednets. They ask for money to help educate people on how to avoid the disease.

    The malaria fighters do not ask for DDT. DDT’s time is past, if there ever was a time for DDT. There is no shortage of DDT — WHO and other NGOs and national groups use DDT when and where it’s appropriate, but ONLY in conjunction with a dozen other pesticides, because DDT speeds mosquito evolution to be resistant to ALL pesticides.

    So, DDT is not so effective as bednets alone (though bednets impregnated with insecticides are used as most effective, once upon a time including DDT); DDT in indoor residual spraying (IRS) is increasingly expensive; DDT causes environmental problems; and DDT is increasingly useless against mosquitoes at all.

    Give $10 and save a life, or turn your back on the people dying of the disease by calling for more DDT. You choose.


  30. Black Flag® says:

    DDT IS the answer, as it solved the problem in North America.

    None of these other methods have proven effective, since they have not solved the problem.

    Demanding more from failure, and arguing against success does not turn a problem into a success.


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