Thwarting Killer Mosquitoes
The State-of-the-Art Fight Against Malaria and West Nile Virus

Summary

While many mosquitoes are little more than nuisance insects, some species are capable of transmitting deadly illnesses to humans. According to the CDC, 2012 was the worst year for West Nile virus. Malaria — long-battled — continues to defy eradication, despite renewed efforts to control and eliminate the disease. This Forum event focused on the fight against these deadly illnesses, emphasizing the latest technologies in mosquito control, challenges in drug resistance, and critical need to sustain efforts — even after incidence declines. This event also explored controversies surrounding genetically modified mosquitoes, pesticides, cross-border control, and counterfeit antimalarial drugs.

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Presented in Collaboration with GlobalPost

Background Articles

Image Credit: CDC/ James Gathany, Dr. Frank Collins, University of Notre Dame

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    I live 6 months each year in Tanzania and am exposed to malaria daily. I use a bed net and take anti-malaria drugs while there. I recently tried to buy bed net re-treatment chemicals and was told that they are no longer being sold . . . because the manufacturer of the bed nets said it is more “economical” (I suspect profitable) to sell new bed nets. Most people in the little village where I live cannot afford new bed nets and now can’t get the chemicals to re-treat . . . what can be done about this?

    Gil Williams

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM LIVE CHAT
    Any eradication effort requires a lot of time- in decades than years. How do we plan, at global level, to maintain the interest of policy makers and funding agencies for such a long time period and what are the cues to be taken at national level?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    There are several ways to help with disease – mosquito control, bed nets, drugs and vaccines. Regina, as a former funder, how do you decide where to place your development bets?
    from Eric Rubin

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM LIVE CHAT
    If the mosquito can’t get its blood from the people under nets, will they attack the animals or are animals not capable of catching malaria?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    Given the increase of mosquito borne diseases such as West Nile and Eastern Equine Encephalitis as well as potential shifts in mosquito populations as a result of climate change, how much of a public health threat are mosquitoes here in the United States?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    What do you see as the ethical issues around mass release of genetically modified mosquitos?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    Is there a career path for basic science researchers who want to become more involved in operational malaria control activities?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    Do you believe malaria eradication is achievable with current tools or is the only path toward eradication via the development of new tools?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    How can students/people get engaged in the malaria effort (at Harvard or beyond)

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    Can the lessons of malaria control be used on other vector-borne diseases (for example to better control West Nile in the US)

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    Why combat mosquitoes at all? Why not funnel resources only towards finding cures for the infectious agents that are transferred by the mosquitoes?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM FORUM EMAIL ACCOUNT
    How much growth do they anticipate in this area of research and/or funding? Do you anticipate any realistic shift of resources away from malaria research towards other mosquito borne disease?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM LIVE CHAT
    Eating garlic makes a person’s blood less attractive to insects – have this cheap, effective treatment been tried?

  • The Forum at Harvard School of Public Health

    QUESTION FROM LIVE CHAT
    Does the time allocation for this seminar between malaria vs. West Nile have anything to do with a lack of funding for West Nile research?