The retreating Germans, however, did not give up so easily on the use of insects as vectors of death. As the Allied forces advanced north from Naples toward Rome, they neared the Pontine Marshes, which for thousands of years had been rendered nearly uninhabitable by their enormous infestation of virulently malarial mosquitoes. In his most noteworthy accomplishment before the war, Mussolini had drained these marshes, making them potentially suitable for human settlement. The Germans demolished Mussolini’s dikes, quickly transforming the area back into the mosquito-infested malarial hellhole it had been for millennia. This promised to be very effective. In the brief Sicilian campaign of early summer 1943, malaria had struck 22,000 Allied troops — a greater casualty toll than that inflicted by the Axis forces themselves. The malarial losses inflicted by the deadly Pontine Marshes were poised to be far worse.
|Rachael Carson--a more successful killer than Stalin and Hitler combined!|
Initially, the ban only affected the United States. But the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) soon adopted strict environmental regulations that effectively prohibited it from funding international projects that used DDT. Around the globe, Third World governments were told that if they wanted USAID or other foreign aid money to play with, they needed to stop using the most effective weapon against malaria. Given the corrupt nature of many of the recipient regimes, it is not surprising that many chose lucre over life. And even for those that did not, the halting of American DDT exports (since U.S. producers slowed and then stopped manufacturing it) made DDT much more expensive, and thus effectively unavailable for poor countries in desperate need of the substance. As a result, insect-borne diseases returned to the tropics with a vengeance.
Ed. On February 4th of 2017, Paul Offit wrote for the Daily Beast:
“In 2006, the World Health Organization reinstated DDT as part of its effort to eradicate malaria. But not before millions of people had died needlessly from the disease.”