National Geographic Cover Story on Malaria

The July issue of National Geographic features an excellent cover story on malaria. It notes the importance of DDT, highlights many problems with relying on bed nets alone, and even takes on Rachel Carson a little bit. The editor’s note (on page 4) opens with a personal story of contracting malaria…because a bed net had a hole in it. The story notes:

Malaria is a confounding disease—often, it seems, contradictory to logic….Rachel Carson, the environmental icon, is a villain; her three-letter devil, DDT, is a savior…In 1962 Rachel Carson published Silent Spring, documenting this abuse and painting so damning a picture that the chemical was eventually outlawed by most of the world for agricultural use. Exceptions were made for malaria control, but DDT became nearly impossible to procure. ‘The ban on DDT,’ says Gwadz of the National Institutes of Health, ‘may have killed 20 million children.’