BRING BACK DDT: How ’60s and ’70s-era Environmentalists Opened The Door For Zika.
Earlier: Victor Davis Hanson on California’s “Engineered Drought:” “[Jerry] Brown and other Democratic leaders will never concede that their own opposition in the 1970s (when California had about half its present population) to the completion of state and federal water projects, along with their more recent allowance of massive water diversions for fish and river enhancement, left no margin for error in a state now home to 40 million people.”
Related: Glenn Reynolds in USA Today: “After regulation exploded in 1970, innovation hit a sustained speed bump…1970 marks what scholars of administrative law (like me) call the ‘regulatory explosion.’ Although government expanded a lot during the New Deal under FDR, it wasn’t until 1970, under Richard Nixon, that we saw an explosion of new-type regulations that directly burdened people and progress: The Clean Air Act, the Clean Water Act, National Environmental Policy Act, the founding of Occupation Safety and Health Administration, the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency, etc. — all things that would have made the most hard-boiled New Dealer blanch.”
BRING BACK DDT: Puerto Rico Braces For Its Own Zika Epidemic.
On an inexorable march across the hemisphere, the Zika virus has begun spreading through Puerto Rico, now the United States’ front line in a looming epidemic.
The outbreak is expected to be worse here than anywhere else in the country. The island, a warm, wet paradise veined with gritty poverty, is the ideal environment for the mosquitoes carrying the virus. The landscape is littered with abandoned houses and discarded tires that are perfect breeding grounds for the insects. Some homes and schools lack window screens and air-conditioning, exposing residents to almost constant bites.
The economy is in shambles, and thousands of civic workers needed to fight mosquitoes have been laid off. The chemical most often used against the adult pests no longer works, and the one needed to control their larvae has been pulled from the market by regulators.
A quarter of the island’s 3.5 million people will probably get the Zika virus within a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and eventually 80 percent or more may be infected.
Since Zika can be sexually transmitted, once it’s established within a population it’ll be hard to eradicate, since at that point mosquito control won’t be enough.
I DON’T THINK IT’S THAT GREAT A DANGER: that said, we should bring back DDT. We should have done it long ago. We should never have outlawed it. The only silent spring is the millions of children dead of malaria throughout the world. The CDC is brushing off the Zika virus.
BRING BACK DDT: Short Answers to Hard Questions About Zika Virus. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has warned pregnant women against travel to several countries in the Caribbean and Latin America where the Zika virus is spreading. Infection with the virus appears to be linked to the development of unusually small heads and brain damage in newborns.”
BRING BACK DDT: Zika Warning Spotlights Latin America’s Fight Against Mosquito-Borne Diseases.
In the campaign against mosquitoes, Brazil has deployed soldiers to destroy habitats where the insects thrive. Colombia is releasing swarms of mosquitoes treated with bacteria that limit their capacity to spread disease. Mexico is testing the first vaccine against dengue fever, a mosquito-borne virus raging throughout the region.
Yet at each turn, mosquitoes are outwitting their human opponents, a challenge highlighted by the United States’ decision to advise pregnant women to postpone traveling to more than a dozen Latin American or Caribbean countries and Puerto Rico where mosquitoes are rapidly expanding the reach of Zika, the virus linked to a surge in cases of infants born with brain damage.
Our treatment of DDT suggests that there were some brain problems already.
BRING BACK DDT: Bedbugs: A Nightmare for the Hotel Industry. “Bedbugs are still a huge concern for the hospitality industry. The reason isn’t merely the bugs themselves, but how travelers choose their accommodations these days: online, guided by the reviews of their fellow travelers. And those online reviews can do real damage to a hotel if there is just the slightest hint of a bedbug infestation.”
BRING BACK DDT: America faces a resurgence of tropical diseases. “For half a day each week, one wing of the Smith Clinic’s third floor in Houston is transformed into a tropical medicine clinic, treating all manner of infectious diseases for anyone who walks through the door. Since it opened in 2011, Woc-Colburn and her colleagues have treated everything from dengue and chikungunya to river blindness and cutaneous leishmaniasis. Their patients are not globetrotting travellers, bringing exotic diseases back home. The Smith Clinic is a safety net provider, the last resort for healthcare for people on low incomes and without insurance. Many of their patients haven’t left the Houston area for years. This suggests that what Woc-Colburn sees in the clinic may be just the leading edge of a gathering crisis. Diseases once associated with ‘elsewhere’ are increasingly being found in the southern states of the USA.”
BRING BACK DDT: A Rare Form of Malaria Is Spreading in Malaysia.
A rare and sometimes lethal form of malaria usually found only in monkeys is becoming so common in Malaysia that it accounts for most malaria hospitalizations there, scientists have found.
In the Malaysian part of the island of Borneo, a parasite called Plasmodium knowlesi causes severe malaria three times as often as Plasmodium falciparum, which has long been considered the deadliest form of the disease. The finding was presented by Balbir Singh, the director of malaria research at the University of Malaysia in Sarawak, at the annual meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene last week in New Orleans.
P. knowlesi is normally found only in long-tailed and pigtailed macaques, who get only mildly ill. But as loggers and palm oil producers have pushed deeper into Malaysia’s forests, more humans have been bitten by mosquitoes carrying it.
Malariologists had believed that mosquitoes must pick up P. knowlesi from a macaque before they could transmit it to a human, so transmission outside monkey habitats would be impossible. But recent research in Vietnam raises the possibility that mosquitoes can pick it up from humans, meaning urban areas could also have epidemics.
Well, that’s disturbing.
BRING BACK DDT: Mosquito-Borne Viruses Hit Japan and the U.S.
Mosquito-borne viruses are showing up unexpectedly in affluent countries where they have been largely unknown.
Yoyogi Park, a popular oasis in downtown Tokyo, was closed last week after authorities realized it was the center of Japan’s first outbreak of dengue in 70 years.
Dengue is also called breakbone fever for the severe joint pain it causes. Repeat infections can cause dengue hemorrhagic fever, which can be lethal. Since Japanese authorities detected the first case Aug. 27, 65 more have been found, most of them associated with Yoyogi Park. The victims included two models covering the outbreak for a local television station.
Fear of the virus is spreading. In Yokohama, officials closed a large beach park after one local woman infected in Tokyo said she was later bitten by a mosquito there.
In the United States, more than 750 cases of another painful disease, chikungunya, have been reported this year. Almost all have been in tourists returning from the Caribbean, where the disease is rampant, particularly in the Dominican Republic, Guadeloupe, Haiti, Martinique and Puerto Rico. Nine million Americans visit the Caribbean each year.
But Florida residents who had not traveled were infected this summer, and the virus was found in a Texas mosquito, meaning that it is becoming established in the United States.
Chikungunya was unknown in the Western Hemisphere until late last year.
Victims can often be seen walking stooped over with pain; the name means “bent up” in Makonde, an East African language.
There used to be malaria in East Tennessee where I live — and Yellow Fever epidemics in Philadelphia.
BRING BACK DDT: Agonizing Tropical Disease Comes To The United States — To Stay? “To this point, all the US residents diagnosed with chikungunya were infected outside the country; there is no evidence that anyone has acquired the disease within the US. Health authorities wonder, though, whether that can happen. Once the virus multiples in someone’s blood enough to cause symptoms, it can be picked up by a mosquito that bites that person, and then transmitted when the bug bites someone else in turn. That pattern has caused the mosquito-borne disease dengue to become re-established in Florida. The same mosquito species that spread dengue spread chikungunya as well.”
BRING BACK DDT: Georgia woman infected with chikungunya virus describes pain. “I don’t think I’ve ever been in so much pain.”
BRING BACK DDT: Tennessee confirms 2nd chikungunya case in Knoxville area. “Symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, rash and joint pain. The only prevention is avoiding mosquito bites.”