A few years ago, I wrote an article for the Los Angeles Times about the Oxitec mosquito, a transgenic critter that could put a halt to Dengue, which was becoming a concern for Florida residents. In opposition to science was a real estate agent and people who were told that biologists were just random tinkerers unleashing Frankenbug on the world.
It was mostly an academic point at the time, because America is not afflicted with dangerous vector-borne diseases like Dengue. Yet that potential was always there.
The science solution, I noted, was a genetically-modified Oxitec Aedes aegypti, whose proteins are not expressed in mosquito salivary glands. Therefore, it can't "transmit" its genetic modification, which environmentalists who don't understand biology worry about. And even if they could, the proteins are not toxic to humans.
DDT may also be an option, even if some species, like Aedes albopictus, are resistant, but that is just crazy talk in the U.S. anyway. Though the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency shows foreign governments how to spray it indoors, it is politically untouchable here due to the lobbyists and lawyers that groups with hundreds of millions of dollars, like Greenpeace and Natural Resources Defense Council, bring to bear. (1, see below)
Writing in USA Today, Dr. Alex Berezow, American Council on Science and Health Scientific Advisory Panel member, says it's time to shuck off the lazy "balance of nature" ecological nonsense that has been the craze for the last century, and get rid of the world's most dangerous creature - the mosquito. Malaria, West Nile, Dengue, Chikungunya, yellow fever and various types of encephalitis are all transmitted by these tiny bloodsuckers, he notes, and these things kill millions of humans each year.
It makes environmentalists happy when humans die off. Sierra Club Director Michael McCloskey wanted DDT banned because, By using DDT, we reduce mortality rates in underdeveloped countries without the consideration of how to support the increase in populations. But it's time to stop pretending they do anything constructive for the environment or mankind.
Along with the ideas noted above, Dr. Berezow also mentions recent efforts at stopping disease transmitted by mosquitoes, like using a bacterium called Wolbachia to shorten their lifespan.
And activists need not fear if one or two dangerous mosquitoes are wiped out. There are over 3,5oo species of mosquitoes and only a few cause these devastating diseases. Decades of unscientific slippery slope thought based on the specious reasoning of ecologist Frederic Clements keeps us from tackling the issue and just wiping them out. There will be no ecological apocalypse, just millions of poor people no longer being epidemiological pawns in the culture wars of wealthy American elites.
(1) The National Academy of Sciences wrote in 1965 that in a little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million [human] deaths that would otherwise have been inevitable. In 1969 WHO wrote, DDT has been the main agent in eradicating malaria ¦ and [has] saved at least 2 billion people in the world without causing the loss of a single life by poisoning from DDT alone.