The Mosquito Menace
It takes only one bite from a disease-carrying mosquito to transmit a debilitating or deadly infection. Though there are no vaccines or treatments for most mosquito-borne diseases, better mechanisms for controlling mosquito populations are at hand – if we give them a chance.
Legitimate objections have been raised about the independence and integrity of the commentaries that Henry Miller has written for Project Syndicate and other outlets, in particular that Monsanto, rather than Miller, drafted some of them. Readers should be aware of this potential conflict of interest, which, had it been known at the time Miller’s commentaries were accepted, would have constituted grounds for rejecting them.
STANFORD – Mosquito-borne diseases kill millions of people annually, and cause suffering for many more. In 2012, there were an estimated 207 million cases of malaria, leading to some 627,000 deaths. Dengue fever is a leading cause of illness and death in the tropics and subtropics, with as many as 100 million people infected each year. And there are an estimated 200,000 cases of yellow fever annually, leading to 30,000 deaths worldwide.
It takes only one bite from a disease-carrying mosquito to transmit a debilitating or deadly infection – and mosquitoes breed and multiply with astonishing speed. Given that there are no vaccines or drug treatments for illnesses like dengue fever and West Nile virus, and that treatments for diseases like malaria are difficult to access in many at-risk areas, more effective mechanisms for controlling mosquito populations are desperately needed.
The good news is that a promising new technology is ready for field-testing. It is now up to government agencies to facilitate its development.