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Mosquito eradication – a fight against wind mills

August 18, 2010 - 16:55 -- Lena Hulden

Human has been successful in the eradication of species as the moa or the dront. The war against mosquitoes started in the beginning of the 20th century and more effort has been put in it than in any other eradication project. Still it has not been very effective. Sardinia was practically covered with DDT after WWII, but it is not unusual to stumble on Anopheles labranchiae there again.

Malaria has been eradicated from 79 countries. In all but the Maldives and Palestine we have “Anophelism without malaria”. Also on the Maldives and in Palestine the vector was eradicated later than the disease. Personally I think that vector control is essential for fighting annual malaria cases and local epidemics, but history shows that it won’t lead to malaria eradication.


Bart G.J. Knols's picture
Submitted by Bart G.J. Knols on

Dear Lena,

Thanks for your contribution. Although I appreciate your opinion, it should also be noted that malaria elimination has never succeeded WITHOUT vector control. I don't think anyone would try to eliminate malaria anno 2010 without using an integrated package of attack. Still, there are some historical examples where vector control was virtually the sole basis for sustainable removal of the disease.

Best wishes,

William Jobin's picture
Submitted by William Jobin on

Thank you Lena and Bart for your critical and thoughtful exam of this issue.

It would help to remember that malaria was eliminated from the USA before DDT and chloroquine, using larval control by biologists and habitat management by engineers. It was then eradicated from the USA when people put screens in their houses.

So no one attempted or succeeded in eradicating the anopheline vector in the USA. But the combined attacks at all points in the transmission cycle finally eradicated the parasite. And the continued use of screens etc, prevents transmission from erupting again, even when infected people come to the USA from the tropics and settle in an area with the right vector.

Thus anophelism without malaria means, to me, that the ecological conditions for transmission have been broken, or improved, to the point that imported cases have a reproduction rate much less than one, and thus new, introduced parasite infections quickly disappear.

Your thoughtful criticisms are exactly what we need to make progress, Lena.


William Jobin Director of Blue Nile Associates