The number of Americans who have died in Iraq since the end of major combat is 138. The Iraq war is a daily story. Last year, however, 284 people died in the U.S. from a preventable disease, West Nile Virus. A total of 4,100 were infected by it. This year, the virus is striking earlier and there is the potential for a record-breaking number of cases. John Domzalski, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, said, “We do believe the worst is yet to come for West Nile [virus].”
The difference is that the victims in Iraq are military volunteers while the victims of West Nile Virus are young and old people who did not expect to be exposed to such a danger. Cherie Bank of the NBC Television affiliate in Philadelphia noted the case of Dennis Hinchley, who was partially paralyzed when he was bit by a mosquito on a Colorado golf course and contracted West Nile virus. Hinchley said, “I’ve never been sick or in the hospital for 40 years. I thought I was very healthy until one mosquito got me.” The average age of people infected with the virus this year has been 45, down from 55 last year.
While the government works to minimize the danger to U.S. troops in Iraq, Henry Miller of the Hoover Institution points out that the federal Centers for Disease Control ignores the use of safe and effective pesticides to control mosquitoes such as DDT. Instead, its website suggests that people avoid mosquito bites by covering up, using insect repellant, and staying indoors. The CDC calls it the “Fight the Bite” campaign. In an August 7 New York Times column, Miller notes that DDT eradicated malaria from the U.S. and it “remains the best alternative to fighting mosquitoes and the West Nile Virus.” But the pesticide was widely banned decades ago, leading to a rise in insect-borne diseases.
Dr. William Campbell Douglas, editor of a newsletter devoted to health issues, calls DDT “the most life-saving medical discovery of the last 100 years.” He says it is estimated that in a little more than two decades, DDT prevented 500 million deaths due to malaria. He says, “the record of actual research continues to show that DDT is the world’s safest way to stop insect-borne disease?”
He adds, “The worldwide witch-hunt against DDT hasn’t saved one peregrine falcon. But it has unquestionably murdered tens of millions of human children in tropical nations, who continue to die from malaria, Dengue fever and other mosquito-borne plagues.” He could have added to that list?West Nile Virus. He says, “It steams me to think that the anti-DDT activists who commit this genocide are congratulating themselves for being great humanitarians.”
A left-wing campaign called “Bring Them Home Now” has been launched to bring the troops home from Iraq because of the military casualties there. But here in the U.S. they would face a disease called West Nile Virus that the federal government is doing little to prevent. This “war at home” is being won by the mosquitoes, even though we have the means?DDT?to achieve victory. But where’s the media outrage over this?