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 Post subject: Another African nation reintroduces DDT into its malaria con
PostPosted: November 22nd, 2009, 6:45 pm 
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A few years after the World Health Organization (WHO) reversed its decade�s long policy against the use of DDT, another African country will begin using it as part of its malaria eradication program.

The nation of Botswana announced it will begin using the very effective pesticide in areas hardest hit by malaria. This follows other nations like Uganda who also reversed their policy after the WHOs policy change.

In Uganda for example, their Health Ministry predicted that infant mortality due to malaria would go from 88 out of 1000 births to 10.

DDT or dichlorodiphenyl-trichloroethane is a pesticide that has saved incalculable amounts of lives since its use during World War II. In the opinion of this author, DDT is up there with vaccinations, antibiotics and sanitation as the most important public health measures ever and particularly the last century.

Its use against the body louse that carries scrub typhus is well documented. U.S. servicemen in Europe were ravaged (up to 3 million) by this infection until the introduction of DDT. The soldiers were dusted and the body lice were killed and it had enough staying power to kill the lice that emerged from the eggs.

It has been credited with helping (in conjunction with other methods) eliminating malaria from the United States and Western Europe. Also it helped reduce the burden of many mosquito-borne infections in the developing world.

The National Academy of Sciences proclaimed in 1970 that, �In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable."

With pressures from environmentalists following the release of the Rachel Carson book, �Silent Spring�, it was banned for many uses over three decades ago.

Though not a panacea for malaria eradication in Africa, its use with bed nets and antimalarials can only help a continent plagued with one of the deadliest diseases on earth.

DDT is very inexpensive, has a long residual effect and there is no evidence of it being a hazard to humans.

The Principal Health Officer of Botswana, Davis Ntebela, stated that �there is no need to worry as long as users of DDT follow WHO recommendations. DDT poses no threat to the environment as long as recommendations are observed."

He also noted � It will be reintroduced where there is no insecticide resistance and that DDT is cheaper, lower in toxicity and lasts longer on treated surfaces as compared to other alternatives.�

Certified Landscape Exterminator

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