“To only a few chemicals does man owe as great a debt as to DDT…
In little more than two decades, DDT has prevented 500 million human deaths, due to malaria, that otherwise would have been inevitable.”
The battle has abruptly become more pressing by what the World Health Organization has called the “explosive” spread of the mosquito-borne Zika virus through Brazil and other parts of Latin America.
One old method that is not getting serious attention would be to use DDT, a powerful pesticide that is banned in many countries because of the ecological damage documented in the 1962 book “Silent Spring.” Still, it is being mentioned a bit, and some experts defend its use for disease control.
“That concern about DDT has to be reconsidered in the public health context,” said Dr. Lyle R. Petersen, director of the division of vector-borne diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.