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Program to eradicate malaria in Sardinia, 1946-1950.

Tognotti E - Emerging Infect. Dis. (2009)

Bottom Line: During 1946-1950, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted a large-scale experiment in Sardinia to test the feasibility of indigenous vector species eradication.The interruption of malaria transmission did not require vector eradication, but with a goal of developing a new strategy to fight malaria, the choice was made to wage a rapid attack with a powerful new chemical.Costing millions of dollars, 267 metric tons of DDT were spread over the island.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. tognotti@tiscali.it

ABSTRACT
During 1946-1950, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted a large-scale experiment in Sardinia to test the feasibility of indigenous vector species eradication. The interruption of malaria transmission did not require vector eradication, but with a goal of developing a new strategy to fight malaria, the choice was made to wage a rapid attack with a powerful new chemical. Costing millions of dollars, 267 metric tons of DDT were spread over the island. Although malaria was eliminated, the main objective, complete eradication of the vector, was not achieved. Despite its being considered almost eradicated in the mid-1940s, malaria 60 years later is still a major public health problem throughout the world, and its eradication is back on the global health agenda.

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Donkeys used to transport equipment and larvicide in hilly territory, Sardinia, 1948–1950. Photograph by Wolfgang Suschitzky. Reprinted with permission from Istituto Etnografico della Sardegna.
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Figure 1: Donkeys used to transport equipment and larvicide in hilly territory, Sardinia, 1948–1950. Photograph by Wolfgang Suschitzky. Reprinted with permission from Istituto Etnografico della Sardegna.

Mentions: During their investigation, the entomologists faced the alarming fact that making a sharp distinction between the breeding places of A. labranchiae mosquitoes and those of other species was impossible. As a result, larva control was extremely difficult. The topography and the altitude of the various breeding sites meant that operations took longer and were more costly than forecast. Mules and donkeys (Figure 1) rather than jeeps had to be used to transport equipment. By mid-1946, it was already clear that eradication of the indigenous vector would be far more difficult than eradication of invaders such as A. gambiae mosquitoes in Brazil. Complaints in this regard made by superintendent Kerr to IHD headquarters were not well received. As well, their eagerness to achieve their objective encouraged them to overlook alarming information about the potential toxicity of DDT (Technical Appendix, note 3), of which Fred Soper was aware as he insinuated in a letter, suggesting that there were “contraindications to the use of DDT as a larvicide as planned.” At a meeting of agricultural entomologists in Riverside, California, USA, he had heard alarming news of rather high concentrations of DDT being found in animal milk. These were not “carefully studied observations,” but he advised, “Caution may be indicated” (21).


Program to eradicate malaria in Sardinia, 1946-1950.

Tognotti E - Emerging Infect. Dis. (2009)

Donkeys used to transport equipment and larvicide in hilly territory, Sardinia, 1948–1950. Photograph by Wolfgang Suschitzky. Reprinted with permission from Istituto Etnografico della Sardegna.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2819864&req=5

Figure 1: Donkeys used to transport equipment and larvicide in hilly territory, Sardinia, 1948–1950. Photograph by Wolfgang Suschitzky. Reprinted with permission from Istituto Etnografico della Sardegna.
Mentions: During their investigation, the entomologists faced the alarming fact that making a sharp distinction between the breeding places of A. labranchiae mosquitoes and those of other species was impossible. As a result, larva control was extremely difficult. The topography and the altitude of the various breeding sites meant that operations took longer and were more costly than forecast. Mules and donkeys (Figure 1) rather than jeeps had to be used to transport equipment. By mid-1946, it was already clear that eradication of the indigenous vector would be far more difficult than eradication of invaders such as A. gambiae mosquitoes in Brazil. Complaints in this regard made by superintendent Kerr to IHD headquarters were not well received. As well, their eagerness to achieve their objective encouraged them to overlook alarming information about the potential toxicity of DDT (Technical Appendix, note 3), of which Fred Soper was aware as he insinuated in a letter, suggesting that there were “contraindications to the use of DDT as a larvicide as planned.” At a meeting of agricultural entomologists in Riverside, California, USA, he had heard alarming news of rather high concentrations of DDT being found in animal milk. These were not “carefully studied observations,” but he advised, “Caution may be indicated” (21).

Bottom Line: During 1946-1950, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted a large-scale experiment in Sardinia to test the feasibility of indigenous vector species eradication.The interruption of malaria transmission did not require vector eradication, but with a goal of developing a new strategy to fight malaria, the choice was made to wage a rapid attack with a powerful new chemical.Costing millions of dollars, 267 metric tons of DDT were spread over the island.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: University of Sassari, Sardinia, Italy. tognotti@tiscali.it

ABSTRACT
During 1946-1950, the Rockefeller Foundation conducted a large-scale experiment in Sardinia to test the feasibility of indigenous vector species eradication. The interruption of malaria transmission did not require vector eradication, but with a goal of developing a new strategy to fight malaria, the choice was made to wage a rapid attack with a powerful new chemical. Costing millions of dollars, 267 metric tons of DDT were spread over the island. Although malaria was eliminated, the main objective, complete eradication of the vector, was not achieved. Despite its being considered almost eradicated in the mid-1940s, malaria 60 years later is still a major public health problem throughout the world, and its eradication is back on the global health agenda.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus