George Clooney’s malaria? DDT didn’t cure it

January 25, 2011

Not sure why, but pro-DDT sites have been harping about George Clooney’s having contracted malaria, a second time, while performing one of his humanitarian acts in southern Sudan.

George Clooney in Sudan, Time Magazine photo

George Clooney in Sudan, Time Magazine photo

True, Clooney got malaria.  His take?

“This illustrates how with proper medication, the most lethal condition in Africa can be reduced to bad ten days instead of a death sentence.”

Sometimes it may pay to remember that malaria is disease caused by a parasite who must live part of its life cycle in humans, and part of its life in mosquitoes.  Killing mosquitoes only works until the next susceptible mosquito comes along to bite an infected human.

The goal of malaria prevention and eradication campaigns generally is to cure the humans, so regardless how many mosquitoes may be in a given location and regardless how many people they may bite, there is no malaria pool for the mosquitoes to draw from, to spread to other humans.

To beat malaria, we need to prevent the spread of the disease.  At some point that requires providing quick and accurate diagnoses of which parasites cause the infection, and a complete and completed regimen of therapeutic pharmaceuticals to actuall cure the human victims.  DDT is mostly a bystander in that crucial part of the fight.

What was Clooney doing in Sudan?  According to the New York Daily News:

Clooney was in Sudan in December to work with Google and the UN on a human rights project that combines satellite imagery analysis and field reports to prevent a new war from occurring in the troubled country.

“We want to let potential perpetrators of genocide and other war crimes know that we’re watching, the world is watching,” he said in a statement at the time. “War criminals thrive in the dark. It’s a lot harder to commit mass atrocities in the glare of the media spotlight.”

Do you consider it odd that Clooney’s contracting malaria might gather more news in western outlets than his actual trip to Sudan, to call attention to the campaign against genocide?

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