This time it's war, mosquitoes

Eradication will not be a trivial undertaking. The most successful public health campaign in world history, the eradication of smallpox, was possible only because the virus was a relatively easy target: It mutated slowly, only infected humans and had no insect vector. It still took nearly 200 years after the invention of the smallpox vaccine to wipe it off the planet.

In contrast, both malaria and the mosquitoes that carry it are known to mutate. Adding yet more complexity to a global mosquito-borne disease eradication effort is the fact that 40 species of the insects are thought to transmit malaria. Toss in all the other aforementioned diseases transmitted by yet more species of mosquito, and the idea of eradicating mosquito-borne disease appears nearly hopeless.

Yet, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try. In fact, efforts are already underway to eliminate the most noxious mosquito offenders.