DDT Use Is Long Overdue

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This letter appeared on the website of the New York Times.

To the Editor:

It is gratifying to learn that Dr. Arata Kochi plans to adhere to sound medical evidence and promote the indoor spraying of DDT in poor regions where malaria remains endemic ("An Iron Fist Joins the Malaria Wars," Scientist at Work, June 27).

It has been proved that such use of DDT (along with effective drug therapies to reduce the blood parasite load, and insecticide-treated bed nets that are appropriately used and accessible) can sharply lower the current unacceptable death rate from malaria.

This approach was used successfully in North America and Europe in the decades after World War II, but unscientific fear of DDT dating from the "Silent Spring" era has prevented similar success in Africa and Asia.

DDT is the cheapest and most effective agent available to reduce this carnage. Its increased use is long overdue.

Gilbert Ross, M.D.