Apu Gomes/Getty Images

Matar a los mosquitos asesinos

SINGAPUR – Si bien los mosquitos son diminutos, muerden bastante fuerte. Propagan una serie de enfermedades (como chikungunya, dengue, malaria, fiebre amarilla, fiebre del Nilo Occidental y virus Zika) que en su conjunto matan a millones de personas cada año. La malaria es por sí sola una de los principales asesinos infecciosos del mundo (solo detrás de la tuberculosis y el SIDA), ocasionando 429.000 muertes en 2015. Dada la magnitud y alcance del problema, es un imperativo para el desarrollo actuar con más firmeza para eliminar los mosquitos y las enfermedades de las que son portadores.

La Organización Mundial de la Salud los considera entre las mayores amenazas para la salud pública, especialmente en los países en desarrollo. Como destacara un gráfico en el blog de Bill Gates el año pasado, los mosquitos son los responsables de 830.000 muertes de personas al año: 250.000 más que las causadas por nuestros compañeros humanos.

Además de los enormes costos humanos, las enfermedades transmitidas por mosquitos conllevan grandes gastos económicos. Para una persona infectada, estos costos incluyen el tratamiento y los gastos hospitalarios, el transporte hacia y desde un centro médico u hospital, el tiempo fuera del trabajo y los aerosoles insecticidas o las redes mosquiteras para protegerse de más picaduras.

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