Eliminating dengue menace – the DDT approach
Posted on March 28th, 2017

Professor Chandre Dharmawardana Canada.

March 27, 2017, 8:46 pm

Dr. K. Rajendra, writing to the Sunday Island, 26th March, makes some very important points on how to detect and deal with Dengue fever. I wish to engage on one of his comments and state how Dengue can in fact be completely eliminated rapidly, and in an environmentally safe and inexpensive manner.

Dr. Rajendra mentions that “In the old days there were major epidemics of smallpox, malaria and polio. Despite not having all the facilities that the present generation has – like transport, communication and modern technology these illnesses were totally eradicated”. The difference between the “old days”, and the present era is that the views of experts are rejected by ignorant politicians, and the correct programs are nullified by self-appointed “green-heroes”, usually from the leisured and “genteel” upper classes who want to “return to traditional knowledge”, and who have taken up the fight “for a Toxin-free nation” or litigate for “environmental justice,” inspired by similar militants in California or Switzerland.

The malaria epidemic is now forgotten history. But during its height it brought the country to its knees. There were patients piling up too fast for even the hospitals to cope with. Today, this is happening with Dengue in Trincomalee, a major city in ancient times, then known as Gokanna, but now relegated to being a mere “out-station”. How did Sri Lanka fight Malaria in the early 1950s? It approved the use of DDT and used it effectively to get rid of the mosquito with no toxin-free messiahs to nullify the program. At the time, in the 1950s, the hazards of DDT-overuse, especially in agriculture were not understood. Its excessive use, especially in the US cotton belt and in Californian fruit farms, led to environmental effects that were ably publicized by Rachel Carson in her famous book, “Silent Spring”. Rachel Carson’s book became the manifesto of the 1960’s “Green revolution” in California.

Currently, cleaning-up breeding places, spraying, creating a dense fog of insecticide etc, are used to fight Dengue in Sri Lanka. DEET, Prallethrin, Allethrin, etc, and chemical coils are also used to eliminate the mosquito. However, this needs to be done almost daily in rainy, monsoon-ridden countries like Sri Lanka – a battle that one cannot win. DDT is the much less dangerous, far less toxic alternative that was used successfully in the 1940s-1950s to successfully eliminate Malaria. While Carson’s plea had much validity, DDT was wrongly indicted by ideological zealots. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) held two years of hearings, and in 1972 completely absolved it, reporting that “DDT if correctly used is not carcinogenic, mutagenic or teratogenic to man. (http://www.21stcenturysciencetech.com/Articles%202007/ddt_hearing.pdf).

Nevertheless, Richard Nixon, one of the most corrupt US politicians who ran for office banned it to secure the California “Green” vote. Since then, US agencies and NGOs refuse any money to public-health organizations that attempt to use DDT for pest control. The net effect has been millions of deaths in Africa and in the tropical belt due to Malaria, Dengue, Yellow fever and similar diseases, as exposed in a National Geographic article that dared to criticize US policy on DDT. Many self-styled “ecologists” and “green activists”, nurtured on internet myths, simply assume that DDT is a deadly substance and have little knowledge of its nature. Western fascist organizations and NGOs that have called for the culling of populations in the “third-world” from fears of immigration, have always espoused the ban on DDT. Very few western countries do research on vaccines against malaria or Dengue. These anti-third-world attitudes, as well as the ideology of pseudo-eco-heroism are the misbegotten ideologies that have prevented the control of mosquito-driven diseases in the tropics. Interestingly, a Singapore pharmaceutical company, Norvatis, and a team involving a Sri Lankan scientist, has actually taken the lead in the effort to find a drug to combat Dengue.

It was the studies at the Institute Pasteur in Paris that confirmed the efficacy and relative non-toxicity of DDT compared to other alternatives for the control of mosquitoes. The WHO in 2006 lifted its ban on the domestic use of DDT, so that it can be sprayed INSIDE homes. DDT does not kill mosquitoes, but mosquitoes of every variety are strongly repelled by DDT and leave the area.

So, the control of Dengue in Sri Lanka is very simple. Spray a tiny amount of DDT inside homes once every six months. All you need are three drops of DDT for every one-hundred million drops of spray. Nothing is sprayed outside, beyond the periphery of the house. Malaysia has proposed such a plan of action in regard to its dengue problem.

Indeed, the use of DDT as an agricultural insecticide is totally indefensible, and the Indian practice is totally reprehensible, while in Sri Lanka we have gone to the other extreme and banned even the very innocuous glyphosate. Thanks to the power of our “green lobby”, we are the only country in the world that has banned this herbicide. Our green pundits will point out that DDT degrades only very slowly in the ecosystem, while ignoring the stench of Meethotamulle and not even seeing the totally indestructible and ubiquitious plastic litter. The green-heroes will fight against parts per million of arsenic or cadmium allegedly found in “imported fertilizers” while breathing in Diesel fumes in congested city traffic. These fighters of environmental justice see no problem with streets and homes with particulate dust levels 300-3000 times higher than the WHO standards, but are ready to go to the Hague to protest against environmental concerns, while motor vehicles with leaded gasoline still run on Sri Lanka’s roads. They are ready to “ban chemical fertilizers and go organic” and create a toxin-free nation in three years, while approving coal-fired power generators and re-approving them with other suppliers for higher kick-backs. The elite classes living in their air conditioned homes in Colombo 7 imagine that they are in California, forget the reality of Meethotamulla and the Diesel-fume filled streets, and try to establish environmental norms suitable for California before getting the basics right, and before eliminating the Dengue mosquito, the blue flies, cockroaches and mice that swarm around the butcher shops and markets of the country, or fix the sewers that overflow at every rainfall.

So, I am sure Dr. Rajendra will agree that the best strategy is the prevention of Dengue. The way to prevent Dengue is to follow the WHO guidelines of 2006 and approve the domestic use of DDT in Sri Lanka. In six months Dengue will be relegated to the history books.

Professor Chandre Dharmawardana


6 Responses to “Eliminating dengue menace – the DDT approach”

  1. Dr.K Says:

    The Dengue virus is transmitted either by Ades albopictus or Ades egypti mosquitoes. Those mosquitoes are out door biters and they do not prefer to rest or live in side houses and bite in side the houses (dwellings) like Anopheles culicifacis, the mosquito that Malaria was transmitted by in Sri Lanka does. Therefore, spraying DDT in side the houses to repel Mosquitoes will not work in Dengue control.

  2. Fran Diaz Says:

    Simple home techniques to eliminate mosquitoes from the yard :


  3. Fran Diaz Says:

    Here is an article from the web on how to safely remove Mosquitoes from Homes & Yard :

    FROM: Organic Lesson
    7 Ways to Get Rid of Mosquitoes in Your Home or Yard

    Use citronella candles in areas with limited air movement.
    Grow mosquito-repelling plants like basil.
    Introduce natural predators like DRAGONFLIES.
    Eliminate standing water around your home.
    Use neem oil as mosquito repellent.
    Place camphor tablets around your home.
    Use a mosquito fogger for treating large outdoor areas.
    Mosquito Repelling Products
    Mosquito Control Product

    Citronella candles
    Citronella is a common natural ingredient used to repel mosquitoes. The oil used to create the candle is derived from Citronella Grass (which also makes good mosquito-repelling plants). Its primary purpose is to deter the mosquitoes by masking scents that the insects are attracted to. This method is most effective in closed spaces with limited air movements. Click here to buy the candles online at an affordable price.

    Neem oil
    Neem oil could be used as a natural pest repellent. A combination of coconut oil and neem oil is considered to be an effective way of keeping mosquitoes at bay. One study found that 2% neem oil mixed with coconut oil provided 96-100% protection against specific mosquito species. An alternative method is to burn some neem leaves and use the resulting smoke to drive the mosquitoes away.

    Camphor tablets
    Camphor is distributed in various forms (e.g. essential oils and tablets). There are a number of ways you could use camphor to repel mosquitoes. Examples include placing camphor tablets around the household, or dissolving the camphor in water and placing the resulting solution near high-traffic mosquito areas. Like the citronella candles, this method works best in closed spaces.

    Mosquito fogger
    If the mosquito infestation is spread over a large outdoor space then one of the more effective methods is to use an insect fogger. These devices can come in two general forms. They can be purchased it as a fogging machine or as a spraying can. Your choice is dependent on how large of an area you are looking to apply the insecticide.

  4. Lorenzo Says:

    Spraying DDT inside homes is not a very intelligent thing to do.

    I agree with Professor Augustina. She has studied zoology and knows what she is talking about. Her methods also expel other DANGEROUS pests like spiders, cockroaches, rats, etc. with NO bad chemicals.

    We have enough chemicals in our lives and NEED NO MORE.

  5. Fran Diaz Says:

    Another idea to keep off mosquitoes from the home :

    Put netting on the windows. Some folk use even netting used for beds, on home windows, using special thin frames which can be lifted out easily. You can then get a good nights sleep without mosquitoes whinning around and bitng you.
    Can keep the windows open even at night time, if safe. Of course, the windows can be kept open safely at daytime and not allow insects into the house.

  6. Cerberus Says:

    Please review this information to see the current status of DDT.


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