Lots of folks are interested in research on malaria, and I thought you might want to know there is a very good open access journal:


It has a very high citation impact rating, which is a sign of good rigor. Someday, maybe all journals will be open access….Sigh.
Many of the papers cover the increasing difficulty of finding drugs to treat malaria, since just as insects become resistant to insecticides, the parasite has become resistant to many drugs. Right now, the most common malarial drug treatment for travelers also has major psychotic side effects!

I was very interested in this paper on microbial larvicides–they worked very well, and would be a relatively benign way to control mosquitoes, environmentally speaking:

Mosquito larval control may prove to be an effective tool for incorporating into integrated vector management (IVM) strategies for reducing malaria transmission. (From the abstract)

If you are so inclined, you can do a search for DDT and find about 20 articles. You’ll see a mix: while one (opinion, not research) article is strongly in favor of DDT use, the research articles mostly discuss mosquito resistance or simply mention DDT in a historic context and move on.

To sum up my central argument for the last month:

DDT is NOT a cure-all solution for malaria. It has to be used–if it is used–carefully, with planning, evaluation, and forethought.

It’s easy to understand why some folks want DDT to be a panacea–Malaria is a horrible disease, and children suffer the most. But jumping in and randomly spraying DDT can have the potential to make things worse, not better, in the long run.

DDT is a tool. And as tools go, it’s a sledgehammer. You don’t want to use it unless it is appropriate, since the potential for unexpected damage is quite large.

Choose your tools wisely. Don’t just BE a tool.

Posted by Gwen Pearson

Writer. Nerd. Insect Evangelist. Have you heard the good news? BUGS!

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