WHO chief: Zika problem self-inflicted when we stopped controlling mosquitoes in ’70s

WHO chief: Zika problem self-inflicted when we stopped controlling mosquitoes in ’70s
The Zika-carrying mosquito Aedes aegypti, no longer on a solo mission in the Western hemisphere. (Image via News Independent)

[Ed. – Experts point out that we can’t get rid of all the mosquitoes.  But local control measures are what we have been abandoning since their zenith in the 1960s, when we wiped out dengue fever in North America.  Now the mosquitoes, and the dengue, Zika, etc. are back.  The mosquito is the most dangerous disease-carrying creature on earth, for humans.  Note: the “family planning” point in the story below is throw-away nonsense, no doubt added because it’s an opportunity to inject an irrelevant political point.]

The Zika epidemic and the birth defects it’s causing are both the fault of governments that abandoned programs to control mosquitoes and to provide even the most basic family planning assistance to young women, the head of the World Health Organization said Monday.

“Let me give you a stern warning. What we are seeing now looks more and more like a dramatic resurgence of the threat from emerging and re-emerging infectious diseases. The world is not prepared to cope,” WHO Director-General Dr. Margaret Chan told a meeting of the World Health Assembly.

Brazilian experts have been pointing out that the country once successfully eliminated the Aedes aegypti mosquitoes that carry the Zika, dengue,chikungunya and yellow fever viruses. Then the government simply stopped paying for eradication and prevention, and the mosquitoes came back.

“Above all, the spread of Zika, the resurgence of dengue, and the emerging threat from chikungunya are the price being paid for a massive policy failure that dropped the ball on mosquito control in the 1970s,” Chan said.

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