At Canadian Press, Carl Hartman reviewed The Fever: How Malaria Has Ruled Humankind for 500,000 Years, a dramatic work of non-fiction about malaria and mosquitoes by Sonia Shah (Sarah Crichton Books/Farrar, Straus and Giroux 2010). Hartman concluded:
Evidence of mosquito resistance to the drug has been recently reported.
Shah is skeptical of a surge of private charity that emphasizes the use of mosquito nets following the decline of government-led anti-malaria programs in the 1990s. Acknowledging the contributions of Bill Gates and former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton, she lists Veto the ‘Squito, a youth-led charity; Nothing but Nets, an anti-malarial basketball charity; and World Swim Against Malaria. She quotes The New York Times as decrying “hip ways to show you care.”
Her own comment: “Just because something is simple doesn’t necessarily mean that people will do it.”
“(T)he schools, roads, clinics, secure housing and good governance that enable regular prevention and prompt treatment must be built,” she concludes. “Otherwise the cycle of depression and resurgence will begin anew; malaria will win, as it always has.”
Anti-environmentalists, anti-scientists, and other conservatives won’t like the book: It says we can’t beat malaria cheaply by just spreading a lot of poison on Africa and Africans.
Especially if you’re doing the noble thing and vacationing in the Gulf of Mexico in Alabama, or Mississippi, or Louisiana, you may want to read this. If you’re vacationing in the Hamptons, Martha’s Vinyard, or Cannes, buy several copies to pass out at dinner with your friends.