Monday, 11 June 2012

Malaria doesn't just go away

Ah, malaria; scourge of the tropics, the reason why I can't donate blood, and, thanks to her flat-out lies about DDT, why Rachel Carson is responsible for more deaths than Hitler. Andre Malcolm at has a fascinating article on the disease that includes this telling observation:
Today’s generation – healthy and robust, beneficiaries of earlier, concerted efforts to wipe out malaria from America evidently have little empathy for doing the same efforts for Africans. Despite proof it can be done, a lazy argument that ‘we just have to live with it’ is making the rounds. Our forefathers didn’t accept that, why do the beneficiaries of their hard work shrug off their duty to the next generation or to those in this generation who are still under siege from this ruinous parasite? Our means are more than ever before in history, so why the unnecessary surrender? 
The second the world believed it might be vulnerable to dying by avian flu, the media gushed and money surged to the cause … evidently the same people who panicked about avian flu cutting their own lives short don’t think malaria can reach them, so they aren’t interested. No skin in the malaria game. The ‘we have to live with it’ is really, ‘they have to live with it. Yet, if malaria re-appeared in Philadelphia or in Washington, DC where it once flourished, how long would it take for the massive public panic and a frantic outcry to DO something?
People who don't read history forget that malaria wasn't always a tropical disease.  In the 19th century it ranged as far north as Minnesota and in East Anglia it was so endemic that the pubs used to put opium in the beer as a prophylactic.

It made the coaching inns every interesting when coach parties of outsiders not used to the stuff had a pint or two.

1 comment:

eon said...

The elite' got frantic about avian flu when they thought that they might be affected by it. "Bird flu", or any other disease, could kill most of the population of the world and our "best and brightest" wouldn't care as long as their personal survival was assured. (And maybe enough maids, and au pairs, and chauffeurs.)

AIDS panicked the elite' because, let's face it, they like to live like Hugh Hefner. (Except for the ones who dream of living like Rock Hudson.) The idea of exercising personal responsibility when exercising their "important muscles" just doesn't fly with them. Therefore, any threat to their chosen lifestyle must be dealt with -now.

As for Africa, the vast majority of our "complex thinkers" are devotees of Paul Ehrlich's "Population Bomb" theory. And they would prefer that they didn't have to share Holy Mother Gaia with all us unenlightened peasants.

To them, Africa is a great place to start culling the human herd, especially because all they need to do to get it done is... exactly nothing.

And if there's one thing our resident "enlightened ones" are good at, it's precisely that.