By Neha Malrani
Since as long as I can remember, mosquitos have been known to have a bad reputation. Aedes aegypti is just one species that is known for spreading the recently talked about Zika virus, which has since been infecting humans with dengue fever, yellow fever, and chickungunya. The author brought up a good point regarding what would happen if we were to eradicate such a species for good, and this is something I have thought of as well, especially after being prone to dozens of mosquito bites every summer. It is important to note that many species of animals, not just mosquitos, are consistently becoming extinct, estimating about 150 species per day. However, these species are not lost intentionally; rather, this is occurring because humans are taking over their habitats.
Wiping out Aedes aegypti specifically would of course help decrease the spread of disease, but this would not occur without consequence. One entomologist made the point that eradicating this species would potentially cease the production of chocolate, because these mosquitos are the main pollinators of the cacao plant in tropical environments where they are found. I did not know that there had been much debate occurring within the last debate regarding whether or not mosquitos should be eradicated, if not all, then at least the 100 species that are actually able to spread infections to humans. It was interesting to note that even many scientists believe that eradicating mosquitos is possible without causing much harm to the environment, and is feasible because they do not really contribute to society in a positive way. Even after all the discussion regarding the elimination of these vectors of disease, the priority tends to remain as getting rid of the actual disease first.
I found this article to be very important, especially in regards to the many parasitic infections that still impact our world today. Being born and raised in the United States, I have not really had to deal with many infectious diseases, but this continues to be a prevalent issue that the developing world has still not been able to eradicate. In the absence of a vaccine that can help treat an infection, other efforts need to be promoted in order to lessen the spread of infection, such as improved public health education. A video that I found online from the IBT times showed that the Aedes aegypti species was once declared eliminated in 18 countries within South America, an effort that took 15 years and included high levels of insecticide DDT and vast amounts of funding. However, the species was able to reemerge, because vector control is only effective in the time that it is occurring, and as we have seen with the Zika virus, it is very possible that these pests can reemerge and cause seriously harmful effects on the human population. Another video I found that was extremely interesting was able to portray the hypothetical situation of what would happen if there were no mosquitos anymore, and that even if this were to happen, it would be an extremely long-winded effort that would cause damage to the environment, so it may honestly be better leaving the situation as is and focusing on improving the state of disease first.
Fazekas, D. (2014, May 29). What If there were No Mosquitoes? Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/what-if-abc-news/what-if-mosquitoes-were-anihilated-194753142.html
Gharib, M. (2016, February 20). Would It Be A Bad Thing to Wipe Out A Species … If It’s A Mosquito? Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2016/02/20/467094440/would-it-be-a-bad-thing-to-wipe-out-a-species-if-its-a-mosquito
Whitman, E. (2016, February 16). How Zika Virus-Carrying Aedes Aegypti Mosquitoes Were Eradicated, And Then Returned. Retrieved February 26, 2016, from http://www.ibtimes.com/how-zika-virus-carrying-aedes-aegypti-mosquitoes-were-eradicated-then-returned-2309666